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Young Athletes Hesitant To Report Concussions

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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A doctor examines a patient's brain. (credit: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – When Paula Greenman’s 10-year-old son is on the ice, it is not the puck that she is watching, but the hits. “I think it is always a concern, especially at this age,” she said, as she watched her son’s hockey practice Wednesday night in Frisco.

A study released that same day from the National Academy of Sciences validates Greenman’s concerns. The study discovered that research about youth concussions is limited.

The committee that wrote the report concluded that more studies are needed to determine how many kids have suffered a sports-related concussion, and what effects a concussion at a young age can have over a lifespan.

The study also noted that concussions may be under-reported — and treatment plans not followed — because of a “culture of resistance” to reporting the injury.

Dr. Shane Miller, who works in pediatric sports medicine at Children’s Medical Center in Plano, treats kids with sports-related concussions every day. At times, Dr. Miller said, it can be difficult to diagnose a concussion, especially when a young athlete tries to hide one. “Sports are big here,” said Dr. Miller. “Parents are concerned that if their 8-year-old is not back out there for the next tournament, then they might not be playing in college.”

Dr. Miller explained that young athletes who suffer a concussion cannot be treated the same as adults. “We are more concerned about the long-term effects of an injury that occurs at a younger brain than an older brain that is fully developed,” he said.

Greenman said that recent reports about the struggles that former NFL players are facing due to concussions has provided an opportunity for her to talk to her sons about the importance of reporting symptoms. However, Greenman added, it can still be hard for her competitive sons to look past next week’s game, which is why she is keeping a close eye on the hits.

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