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What's Up Magazine

The Report Card on Concussion

May 13, 2015 02:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds

We, at What’s Up?, have written repeatedly about the medical ramifications of concussion on our youth and athletes. If the research and data on the lasting effects of just one, mild concussion are to be believed, we all have to examine our own decisions about what sports we play and what sports we allow our children to play.

Add to that a newly published study that puts the focus on the scholastic price kids may pay for playing around. The article, Academic Effects of Concussion in Children and Adolescents, in the May11th online journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, describes (in technical jargon) the study which sampled “349 students ages 5 to 18 who sustained a concussion and their parents reported academic concerns and problems (e.g., symptoms interfering, diminished academic skills) on a structured school questionnaire within 4 weeks of injury. Postconcussion symptoms were measured as a marker of injury severity. Results were examined based on recovery status (recovered or actively symptomatic) and level of schooling (elementary, middle, and high school).”

All of that technical rhetoric is basically saying that they talked to a group of kids (and their parents) who had had concussions to see if they encountered any trouble in school afterwards. And the findings were clear: The more severe the concussion, the more notable the impact.

High school students who had not yet fully recovered, reported significantly more adverse academic effects than their younger counterparts. Across the board, 88 percent of the children who were not fully recovered still had problems with concentration, headaches, and fatigue. Seventy-seven percent of those children had trouble taking notes, found they took longer to do their homework, and had more difficulty with quizzes and tests.

The report concludes: “This study provides initial evidence for a concussion’s impact on the academic learning and performance, with more adverse effects reported by students who had not yet recovered from the injury.”

One more unwelcomed, but important, piece in the concussion puzzle.

--Sarah Hagerty
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