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One in 5 students in Grades 7-12 say they have had a traumatic brain injury in their lifetime
Date:6/25/2013

he survey found that 20 per cent of adolescents in Ontario said they had had a traumatic brain injury in their lifetime. It found that 5.6 per cent of them had had such an injury in the past 12 months.

Dr. Ilie said this suggests the prevalence of TBI among young people is much higher than previously known, because many head injuries remain uncounted when they are not being reported to parents, teachers, sports coaches or health care workers. In Canada, 50 per cent of all injuries that kill and disable youth involve a TBI.

This new research found that 46.9 per cent of the TBIs reported by adolescent females occurred during sports (e.g., hockey, skate boarding); the figure was 63.5 per cent for males.

Students who reported drinking alcohol occasionally/frequently and those who reported using cannabis 10 or more times over the past 12 months had more than five times and more than three the odds, respectively, of acquiring a traumatic brain injury in the past 12 months than students who reported abstinence. The survey also showed that students who reported overall poor grades at school (below 60 per cent) had almost four times the odds of a lifetime acquired brain injury than students who reported grades at or above 90 per cent.

"Traumatic brain injury is preventable," said Dr. Ilie. "If we know who is more vulnerable, when and how these injuries are occurring, we can talk to students, coaches, and parents about it. We can take preventive action and find viable solutions to reduce their occurrence and long-term effects."

Brain injuries among adolescents are particularly concerning because their brains are still developing. There is growing evidence that people who have had one or more concussions are at greater risk of future concussions, and evidence that multiple brain injuries can result in lasting cognitive impairment, substance use, mental health and physical health harms.


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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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