Children who have suffered a concussion are more likely to be diagnosed in their pediatrician’s office than the emergency room, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. The study suggests current concussion statistics may be vastly underreported, since only children diagnosed in the ER are included in counts by the U.S. CDC. They found approximately 82 percent had their first concussion visit at a primary care site like a pediatrician’s office, 12 percent were diagnosed in an emergency department, 5 percent were diagnosed from a specialist, such as a sports medicine doctor or neurologist, and 1 percent were directly admitted to the hospital. Additionally, one-third of those injured were under age 12, showing that not just high school athletes are at high risk, the study found.
“We learned two really important things about pediatric concussion healthcare practices,” Kristy Arbogast, lead author and Co-Scientific Director of CHOP’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention, said in a statement today. “First, four in five of this diverse group of children were diagnosed at a primary care practice — not the emergency department. Second, one-third were under age 12, and therefore represent an important part of the concussion population that is missed by existing surveillance systems that focus on high school athletes.”