Concussions in Young People

Concussion in Young People


25 May 2023 | 0 | by kjh

2566480login-checkConcussion in Young People

Dr. Charles Tator is a Professor of Neurology at the University of Toronto and he has advocated extensively about the precautions regarding concussion in young people. Dr. Tator says that researchers have known for years that the growing brain has a greater susceptibility to concussion than the already developed brain.

The peak incidence of concussion in sports and recreation appears to be around the age of 14, 15, 16. Every time a kid is sitting in class and learning something, there are new connections being made. The concept of plasticity exploding in that age group may account for this increased susceptibility, according to Dr. Tator.

Parents may not be aware of the incidence of brain injuries in young people.  Many are involved in sports and high risk activities.  Children, adolescents and young teenagers are at risk of brain injuries.

What about kids who don’t have a concussion but still have a head injury?  Harvard University has done studies and found that individuals who had not been diagnosed with concussions had a lot of the white matter — injuries similar to the ones that did have concussions.

Dr. Paul Echlin is a primary care sports medicine specialist at Burlington’s Elliott Sports Medicine Clinic.  His research in sport-related traumatic brain injury (concussion) is documented nationally and internationally. He says that the cumulative effect of multiple small hits could have the same effect on the brain as one big hit. 

Dr. Echlin says in his clinical experience the brain does heal. It does remodel, if it’s given a chance. He says the best way to treat a concussion is to limit incoming stimuli, so the brain has a chance to rest. If a person gets another concussion while their brain is still recovering from a previous one, that’s when the symptoms can last even longer. 

According to Dr. Echlin, the cumulative effects could result in memory deficit, can be emotional, or psychiatric components of anxiety or distress. It can cause loss of ability to concentrate. It can cause light and sound sensitivity, all the basic symptoms one initially experiences with post concussion syndrome; they can become long-lasting.

If a person goes on to get more and more concussions they can pass a threshold where they can’t recover and develop the degenerative brain disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE, says Dr. Echlin.

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