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More Children Are Suffering Traumatic Brain Injuries at the Playground, Study Says

Playgrounds aren't always fun and games according to a new study. Researchers found that children are increasingly being diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after a run-in with playground equipment.

Researchers from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control looked at injury rates for kids under 14 from 2005 to 2013 and determined that there was a significant increase in children going to the emergency room for traumatic brain injuries. Boys accounted for 58.6 percent of the TBIs identified while 50.6 percent of children with TBIs were between the ages of five and nine, according to a study published today in the Pediatrics Medical Journal.

Most playground-related TBIs were associated with monkey bars and swings, according to researchers.

The authors theorize that the rise in injuries can be attributable to two reasons: increased playground time for kids and increased awareness among parents and doctors about the dangers of head injuries.

"It is also plausible that heightened public awareness of TBI and concussions has prompted parents to seek medical care for their children in the event of a head injury, when previously they would not have done so," the authors wrote.

The authors stress that most children do not have long-lasting injuries, with the overwhelming majority of these pediatric patients, 95.6 percent, were treated and released from the hospital without further care.

The authors did, however, suggest steps that could help lower TBI rates.

"Improvements in playground environmental safety that also address design, surfacing, and maintenance can help accomplish this," the study authors said.