How Many People Experience Concussions?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 3.6 million concussions occur each year in the US as a result of sports and recreational activities alone. As well, in late 2011, the CDC reported that among youth athletes, the rate of concussions had increased by more than 60% between 2001 and 2009. This says nothing about the number of concussions due to other causes.
While the CDC reports those numbers, research from the Mayo Clinic released in 2012 indicates that brain injuries may actually be far more common. The researchers analyzed existing medical records and found that the evidence and symptoms most frequently associated with concussions occurred 60% more often than the rate of concussion diagnosis. This suggests concussions are significantly under diagnosed.
Other evidence paints a similar picture. An investigation by National Public Radio and ProPublica found that 40% of concussions experienced during military service were not detected at the time of the injury. This means that many soldiers who experienced a concussion during active duty or even training may unknowingly come home with the health issues that result.
Who Is At Most Risk From Concussion?
Amongst the large numbers of people who will experience a concussion, there are groups with higher risk. According to the CDC those most likely to suffer concussions are children under 5, teenagers and those over 65. Amongst older adults, a greater tendency to fall means that more than 50% of concussions are the result of a fall. Across all age groups, men are more likely to experience a concussion than women.
What Happens To The Brain Following A Concussion?
With such a wide array of serious symptoms and the large number of people affected by such injuries, understanding what is happening in the brain following a concussion becomes very important. It is only with recent advances in medical imaging that research has been able to truly gain this understanding.