Concussion rates a concern for teenage boys

Concussion rates a concern for teenage boys

Media Release — 21 October 2018

A youg girl having her eyes examined by a medical doctor

A national study of Australian children’s use of health services has revealed significant rates of concussion among teenage boys.

The study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that 3.8 per cent of teenage boys aged 14-15 years old required medical treatment for concussion in a 12 month period.

The Institute’s Director, Anne Hollonds said that in early childhood, the most common injuries were cuts and scrapes but in the teenage years, medical attention for broken bones and sprains became more common, as well as concussion incidents, particularly among boys.

“The number of teenage boys receiving medical treatment for concussion increased as they got older,” Ms Hollonds said.

“At age 12-13, 2.4 per cent of boys required treatment for concussion. But by age 14-15, that number had risen to 3.8 per cent.

“While those figures may appear low, they represent around 5,000 15 year old boys across Australia who required medical attention as a result of concussion in a single 12-month period.

“Concussion injuries were higher among boys than girls. Only around 1 per cent of girls at age 14-15 needed medical attention for a concussion, compared to 3.8 per cent of boys, who were more at risk as a result of injuries sustained during contact sports.”

Lead researcher, Dr Diana Warren used data from the Growing Up In Australia Longitudinal Study of Australian Children to examine children’s health service usage from the time they were babies and pre-schoolers in 2004, to ages 10-11 and 14-15 in 2014.

“While most injuries that required medical attention were the result of an accident, around 4 per cent of 14-15 year old boys and girls were injured by another person,” Dr Warren said.

Dr Warren said some families, especially in regional and remote areas had difficulties accessing health services.

“There is some evidence of difficulties as a result of the cost of health services, with families in the lowest income brackets more likely to report problems accessing services,” she said.

“Among families with young children, those who spoke a language other than English were significantly more likely to report difficulties accessing GPs, specialists, dental and other services.”

Read the full chapter: Children's use of health care services.

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