Traumatic brain injury is the number one cause of mortality and disability in children ages 0–4 and 15–19, raising serious public health concerns. Such accidents have increased in frequency among school-aged children engaged in sports and playground activities that require equipment (e.g., bicycling, football, basketball, and soccer), with 308,000 average annual cases in the United States.
A 20-year investigation into consumer product-related traumatic brain injuries (CP-TBI) among school-aged children has been published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier.
The study differentiates age groups, educational levels, and gender before analyzing trends using the time-point regression method. Their findings offer new perspectives that have ramifications for sensible preventive measures and regulations.
This serial cross-sectional study utilized data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for initial emergency department (ED) visits for CP/TBI from January 2000 to December 2019 for 6.2 million children aged 5-18 years.
According to the report, there has been a marked increase in CP-TBI cases since 2000, with school-aged children visiting emergency rooms at US hospitals at a rate of over 12% in 2019 compared to just 4.5% in 2000.
Parents, athletic and activity staff and coaches, educators, care providers and support members, and children themselves all need more awareness and training on screening and when to seek care for minor and more severe TBI in children. Improved point-of-care screening needs to be developed and promoted to identify and treat injuries that are not always immediately apparent.Tuan D. Le
After reaching a peak in 2012, the rate of increase generally stabilized near a 3.6% yearly level over the duration of the research. This may be partly attributed to significant media coverage and public health initiatives that have led to increased incident reporting, higher risk knowledge associated to contact sports, and more efficient prevention and treatment.
CP-TBI incidence was higher among boys than girls. However, and this is crucial, females, particularly those in high school, have seen the highest annual percentage growth since 2013.
“While it appears that efforts to decrease TBI in children’s sports have been effective, our findings suggest that more focused efforts are needed among girls,” said lead investigator Tuan D. Le, MD, DrPH, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Community and Rural Health, The University of Texas at Tyler Health Science Center, Tyler; and Research Directorate, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, JBSA- Fort Sam Houston, TX, USA.
The effects of CP-TBI extend beyond the affected individuals to include their families, schools, and healthcare systems.
“Parents, athletic and activity staff and coaches, educators, care providers and support members, and children themselves all need more awareness and training on screening and when to seek care for minor and more severe TBI in children. Improved point-of-care screening needs to be developed and promoted to identify and treat injuries that are not always immediately apparent,” explained Dr. Le.
He added, “Since childhood inactivity is also a serious concern, we are faced with a difficult balancing act: How do we develop awareness on how to avoid high risk activities without discouraging children from taking part in healthy and fun exercise?”