While much attention has been given to concussions and athletics in recent years, a new study conducted by researchers at Ste-Justine Hospital and the Universite de Montreal is shedding light on how they affect smaller people.

  Ste-Justine researcher Miriam Beauchamp said concussions are more prevalent in preschoolers than they are in teenagers.

“We also know that young children are quite vulnerable,” she said. “They’re in a really critical area of development.”

Beauchamp and her team evaluated how developing brains were affected by injury. They said many affected children displayed changes in behaviour and mood.

“Not listening to the rules, being more impulsive, demanding a lot of attention, being frustrated,” are some common symptoms, said Beauchamp.

The study subjects included 200 children between the ages of 18 months and five-years-old who had concussions, as well two control groups: healthy children and children with orthopedic injuries but no concussions.

In the study, the researchers said they found that even a benign concussion in a preschooler can cause behavioral changes that last six months, though most children will recover more quickly.

“Our advice is for parents to be aware of these symptoms, these potential problems, so if they see them, they’ll seek help earlier on,” said Beauchamp.