Playground concussions are on the rise, according to a CDC study published online this week in the journal Pediatrics, and monkey bars and swings are most often involved. The study examined national 2001-2013 data on playground injuries to kids aged 14 and younger who received emergency-room treatment. Of almost 215,000 kids on average treated yearly, almost 10 percent – about 21,000 annually – had traumatic brain injuries including concussions. In 2005, 23 out of 100,000 kids had traumatic brain injuries, a rate that jumped to 48 out of 100,000 in 2013. By 2013, the annual total was almost 30,000 kids treated for these brain injuries.
Only 3 percent of kids with concussions were hospitalized or transferred elsewhere for additional treatment; 95 percent were sent home after ER treatment. Half of the head injuries were in kids ages 5 to 9 and injuries were more common in boys. Dr. Jeneita Bell, a CDC brain injury specialist who co-authored the study, said the results highlight “that sports is not the only important cause of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries for children.”