Head injuries have been front and center in the collective American mindset for several years now, with media accounts of traumatic brain injury — including, centrally, concussions — regularly featuring in stories concerning head trauma suffered by people engaged in widely varying activities.

Those range from accounts of returning combat veterans from the Middle East, where concussions have been termed the “signature wound” of American service members, to stories chronicling the head injuries suffered by sports participants.

Among that latter group, special concern has focused on the country’s youngest sports enthusiasts, namely — and simply — kids who play ball.

For adolescent and teen sports participants, a concussion can be a comparatively big deal, given their immature and developing brains. A misdiagnosis or flat failure to diagnose a concussion can result in truly adverse health consequences in the event that proper allowance is not made for recovery time and diagnostic follow up.

Even where concussions are diagnosed, a new study posits that the recommendations for rest and healing time might be precipitously short, especially for young people.

That study, which received funding from the National Institutes of Health, has immediate relevance in New Jersey and across the country. Its core finding, arrived at through observations enabled by newly upgraded image-scanning technology, is that recovery from concussions might in many instances be taking far longer than is commonly assumed.

As noted in a national publication citing the study, young athletes especially who are concussed and cease their sports activity for up to two weeks “may require a significantly longer period of time for full recovery and healing.”

Source: Forbes, “After symptoms subside, brain injury still evident after concussions,” Robert Glatter, Dec. 1, 2013