WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Implementation of state youth traumatic brain injury (TBI) legislation correlated with an increase in pediatric emergency department utilization for youth sports- and recreation-related mild TBI (mTBI) evaluation, according to a study published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

Bhavna Singichetti, M.P.H., from the Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis to examine the effect of state youth TBI legislation on pediatric emergency department utilization for sports- and recreation-related mTBI. Data were included for 452,900 emergency department visits by children ages 5 to 18 years between 2006 and 2014.

The researchers found that 27.2 percent of the emergency department visits were for mTBI. Boys, children aged 10 to 14 years, and the privately insured most often had emergency department visits for mTBIs (67.5, 42.1, and 50.6 percent, respectively). There was an increase in the proportion of mTBI emergency department visits, especially from five years before legislation to immediately postlegislation (57.8 to 94.8 mTBI visits per 10,000 emergency department visits). For minor head injuries, the trend was similar.

“It is likely that this legislation led to increased public awareness of mTBI and subsequently played a significant role in the observed increase in pediatric emergency department utilization,” the authors write. “To fully understand the impact of the youth TBI legislation, it will be important to examine all factors related to health care utilization for youth mTBI.”

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