Study: Most Youth Concussions Diagnosed Outside E.R.

About 82 percent of children had their first concussion visit at their primary care site such as a physician’s office compared to 12 percent of children who were diagnosed in an emergency room, according to a new study.

Researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) produced the study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

Because the majority of concussions are reported outside the emergency department, according to the study, there is a concern that concussions in children are underreported.

“We need surveillance that better captures concussions that occur in children and adolescents,” Dr. Debra Houry, director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said in a statement. “Better estimates of the number, causes, and outcomes of concussion will allow us to more effectively prevent and treat them, which is a priority area for CDC’s Injury Center.”

Related: Study: Fewer Concussions in Youth Practice Than Games

The study found that a specialist, such as a sports medicine doctor or neurologist, diagnosed 5 percent of children who had their first concussion while 1 percent of children were directly admitted to the hospital. One-third of those diagnosed were under the age of 12, the study found.

A total of 8,083 patients up to 17 years old (with a median age of 13) within the CHOP network were included in the study. Records from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2014, were selected.

“This study provides direction for healthcare networks and clinicians about the critical importance of providing targeted training and resources in primary care settings,” Christina Master, a co-author and CHOP pediatric sports medicine specialist, said in a statement.

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