STUDY: Many youth concussions go untreated

Posted at 7:28 AM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 07:28:34-04

Up to 2 million children get a concussion every year, but many go untreated. That's according to a new study that looked at injuries to kids 18 and under across the U.S.

Local athletic programs tell us they're doing everything to make sure kids get the care they need.

At Michigan State University's summer camps, everyone working with the kids is trained to identify concussions. If coaches think there's a chance a player might have one they call in certified athletic trainers like Lianna Hadden.

"Symptoms may not be immediate it may be hours or days or even weeks later," Hadden said. "If we feel that have any signs or symptoms they're immediately pulled from play for the entire day."

But Hadden says the biggest thing is that kids get treatment afterwards.

"We recommend them following up with their pediatrician and following up with a physical at home to get cleared before they participate again," Hadden added.

Players at MSU summer camps who've had a concussion aren't allowed back on the field unless they've been cleared by a doctor and are symptom free.

Plus the camp is teaching kids about concussions and encouraging them to speak up if they think something is wrong.

It's similar to policies at the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which now offers concussion testing on the sidelines.

"They have to be 100 percent cleared before they can step foot on the field again," said Communications Director John Johnson.

If a player isn't cleared and goes back into the game the team will have to forfeit and could be kicked out of tournaments. MHSAA says that's because getting a second concussion before the first one heals can lead to even worse symptoms and is sometimes fatal.

"It's always the greatest fear that you have that something goes undetected and you found out that a kid had a concussion in a game and then you send them back in there," Johnson added.

The MHSAA is going a step further, it now requires schools to report concussions and it's using that information to see if safety changes are needed. A full report should be out this summer.