According to a study published Tuesday in JAMA, up to one in every four teenagers and youth in the United States has had a concussion at some stage in their lives.
According to the data, about 7% of people have had two such brain injuries.
The figures, which reflect confirmed concussions among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in 2020, represent an improvement over 2016, when just under 20% suggested they had experienced at least one, according to the researchers.
“Concussions appear to be a common injury among adolescents,” study co-author Philip Veliz told UPI in an email.
“Continued efforts to educate the population on both the risk and management of these injuries should still remain a priority as it relates to adolescent health,” said Veliz, an assistant research professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can occur following a head hit or whiplash-type injury that causes the head and brain to rock rapidly and can trigger an impaired emotional state, including unconsciousness.
Veliz and colleagues analysed data from the Monitoring the Future initiative, an ongoing survey of teenage and teen wellbeing led by University of Michigan researchers, for this report.
The 2020 figures are based on feedback from about 3,300 eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth-graders, while the data from 2016 to 2019 were collected from interviews with more than 11,000 people in this age range each year.
According to the results, just under 25% of respondents to the 2020 survey said they had sustained a concussion at some point in their lives, with 18% reporting one such incident and 7% reporting two or more.
All of these numbers have risen since 2016, when about 20% of those polled reported a history of concussions, with just under 6% having two or more.
According to the researcher, in 2020, 27 percent of boys in 8th, 10th, or 12th grade had a concussion experience, compared to 22 percent of girls.
Among sports participants, 27% reported a concussion history, while just under 13% of non-sports participating adolescents and teens did so, they said.
“One reason that that could explain why adolescents who participate in sports saw an increase in self-reported concussion could be due to greater awareness of these types of injuries within sporting contexts,” Veliz said.
“This type of information among non-participants may be limited, given that they are not participating in activities that are susceptible to these types of injuries,” he said.