The Hidden Epidemic Affecting Student Athletes


Mild traumatic brain injuries, commonly referred to as concussions, are being called a hidden epidemic in the medical community because they are difficult to diagnose and often go undetected. Concussions in the student athletic arena are on the rise, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are over 3 million concussions in the United States each year. Concussions have been characterized as a hidden epidemic because there are no outwardly visible signs of the injury such as swelling or bleeding.

There is also a great deal of new information regarding concussions and their diagnosis. Being knocked unconscious is no longer the best indicator that an athlete has suffered a concussion. Now, the research points to memory loss as the best indicator.

Coaches and healthcare professionals are being more rigorously educated on the latest findings regarding traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the National Federation of State High School Associations has made concussions a point of emphasis in all sports rulebooks. Athletes who suffer injuries to the knee, shoulder, or ankle get excellent orthopedic care; it is imperative that the same standard of care be given to our athletes who suffer injuries to the head and brain.