Concussion diagnoses among Hawaii youth skyrocket from 2010 to 2015

Concussion diagnoses among Hawaii youth skyrocket from 2010 to 2015

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The rate of concussion diagnoses among Hawaii's youth skyrocketed by 46 percent from 2010 to 2015, a new Hawaii Medical Service Association study shows.

The state's largest health insurer said 13.4 in 1,000 Hawaii young people ages 10 to 19 were diagnosed with concussions in 2015.

That's up from 9.2 in 1,000 young people in 2010.

Nationally, concussion diagnoses grew at an even steeper rate – 71 percent over the same period. In 2015, 15.2 in 1,000 young people across the country had been diagnosed with a concussion.

Dr. Mark Mugiishi, senior vice president and chief medical officer for HMSA, said the increase in diagnoses highlights increased efforts to better identify concussions in student athletes and take appropriate actions to lower the risk of long-term harm.

"Concussions are serious injuries so I'm glad that, as a sports community, we're looking for signs and taking the right steps to care for our young athletes," said Mugiishi, who is also a former varsity basketball coach at Iolani School.

HMSA conducted the study to mirror one conducted nationally. The Hawaii insurer found that from 2010 to 2015, HMSA members experienced 14,471 "concussion events."

In reviewing the claims data, HMSA concluded that:

  • Fall is the peak concussion season for patients ages 10 to 19, with the biggest increases seen among boys and men. Concussion diagnoses for boys in fall are nearly double that of girls.
  • The growth of diagnosis rates for girls increased at a higher rate than boys, though boys are still diagnosed with concussions more often. In Hawaii, young female concussion diagnoses increased by 89 percent over the five-year period while the rate increased by 25 percent for boys.
  • The percentage of concussion patients across all ages diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome approximately doubled between 2010 and 2015.

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