All it takes is one blow to the head and your life can be changed forever. Concussions are becoming all too common, especially among young people. And new research is showing that the consequences of just one concussion can have long-term effects on your mental, intellectual, and physical abilities.
Scientists from universities in the US, the UK, and Sweden collaborated on the study. Looking at a set of Swedish people who had suffered a head injury before age 25, they made some startling discoveries.
The first finding is economic in nature. Those who had experienced just one concussion or mild traumatic brain injury in their youth were much more likely to be receiving disability payments as an adult. They were also less likely to have finished high school or to have moved on to higher education or training.
The group also experienced more health problems. They were more likely to seek help for mental health issues, they suffered more lingering physical problems, and were more likely to die early in life. The situation was worse for a concussion after the age of 15 – an important time in human development when the brain is still growing.
That’s also an age when a lot of kids are heavily involved in sports with a higher risk of head injury, such as hockey, soccer, rugby, and football. All the more reason to make sure your kids are playing safe and wearing protective gear. And if they do get hurt, it’s why you should pull them out of play. Their future health and success is far more important than a high school trophy.
For more information
- A Single Concussion May Have Lasting Impact, New York Times
- Concussions May Have Long Term Impact on Kids’ Mental Health, The Kid’s Doctor
- HEADS UP to Youth Sports, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention