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Top-of-the-Head Concussions Worse Than Other Forms

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A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics has looked into how impacts to different locations of the head can cause different concussion outcomes, Medical News Today reports. A concussion is defined as a knock to the head that alters how the brain usually works, but there has been little previous research into how an impact to different areas of the head affects this.

The study was called ‘Impact Locations and Concussion Outcomes in High School Football Player-to-Player Collisions´ and was published in the September issue of the Pediatrics journal. Researchers on the study gathered data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study and found that the majority of collisions between players occurred on the front of the head (44.7%) followed by those occurring on the side of the head, at 22.3%. Of the players who received such blows to the head, only 3.4% lost consciousness – however, of players who received a blow to the top of the head, 8% lost consciousness, indicating a much higher risk.

If a player entered a tackle with their head down, this type of injury was more likely to occur, highlighting the importance of teaching players safe tackling techniques. Dr Gerard A. Gioia, pediatric neuropsychologist from the Children´s National Medical Center, commented on the National Football League´s “Heads Up Football” campaign, stating that this approach is what is needed to “improve head safety in tackle football.”

The symptom type and number of symptoms, as well as the length of time it took to recover and return to the game, did not vary depending on where the impact was received. Overall, US emergency services treat 173,285 sports-related injuries every year.