A new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP) finds that one in six children aged 5 to 15 who has a concussion will go on to experience a repeat concussion within two years. Several characteristics of the initial concussion predict an elevated risk of subsequent concussions, including an increased number of symptoms and longer recovery time. Researchers identified, through review of electronic health records (EHRs), 536 children aged 5 through 15 who had an initial visit for a concussion at a CHOP location between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013, and reviewed their EHR for a two-year follow-up period.
They found that 8% of patients were diagnosed with a second concussion within the first year, and 16% had a second concussion within two years, including 3% who were diagnosed with two additional concussions. The risk of repeat concussion among 12- to 15-year-olds was almost twice as high as that of 9- to 11 year-olds, but this increased risk may simply be related to their increased exposure to sports and recreational activities. A recovery course of more than 28 days correlated to a 65% increased risk of repeat concussion compared to patients with a recovery of less than seven days. Patients who experienced more than 10 symptoms had twice the risk of repeated injury compared to patients with less than two symptoms.