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June 27, 2013

Scary Statistics on Teenage TBI

A Canadian study on head injury in teens has gained worldwide attention this week.

According to the study, one in five students in grades 7 to 12 say they have suffered a head injury. Close to 6% reported an injury in the past year serious enough to knock them out for more than five minutes or require hospitalization. A little over half of these were sports-related.

The study also found a link to alcohol and marijuana, finding users more at risk of head injury.

TBI was also linked to poorer academic performance in school.

So what does all this research mean?

Neuropsychologist Gabriela Ilie, co-author on the study, believes the findings highlight the fact that TBI is preventable. “If we know who’s more likely to be vulnerable, if we know under what conditions those injuries are occurring, we can talk to the parents, we can talk to the students, we can talk to hospitals, we can talk to communities, and together we can almost change our mindset in terms of how we see (this) injury,” says Ilie.

“You wouldn’t send a child with a broken arm into the rink, would you?” asks Ilie. So why would you send a child with a head injury back on the ice?

Community Involvement is Key

The good news is that the growing body of research on head injury is helping to spread the word on TBI awareness and management.

Brainline.org is an online resource for the prevention and treatment of those living with TBI. The site has an extensive bank of information to help parents and teachers put together a school-based plan for kids who have suffered a concussion.

Resources like Brainline.org will play a critical role in growing awareness and standardizing care for those with TBI.

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