Background — There is a paucity of information regarding descriptive epidemiology of paediatric concussions over time, and few studies include both emergency department (ED) and physician office visits.
Objective — To describe trends in visits for paediatric concussions in both EDs and physician offices according to age and sex. A secondary objective was to describe the cause of concussion for children treated in EDs.
Methods — A retrospective, population-based study using linked health administrative data from all concussion-related visits to the ED or a physician office by school-age children and youth (three to 18 years of age) in Ontario between April 1, 2003 and March 3, 2011 was conducted.
Results — The number of children evaluated in both EDs and a physician offices increased between 2003 and 2010, and this linear trend was statistically significant (P=0.002 for ED visits and P=0.001 for office visits). The rate per 100,000 increased from 466.7 to 754.3 for boys and from 208.6 to 440.7 for girls during the study period. Falls accounted for approximately one-third of the paediatric concussions. Hockey/skating was the most common specific cause of paediatric sports-related concussions.
Conclusions — The increasing use of health care services for concussions is likely related to changes in incidence over time and increased awareness of concussion as a health issue. Evidence-based prevention initiatives to help reduce the incidence of concussion are warranted, particularly in sports and recreation programs.
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