The Effect of Traumatic Brain Injuries on Adolescents
There seems to have been a rise in the number of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in recent months and most come from team sports at both a professional and a school aged or “amateur” level. A TBI, sometimes referred to as a “brain trauma,” is sudden physical damage to the brain that causes impairment in the physical functioning of the brain or the cognitive abilities of the brain. These types of injuries are often caused by a motor vehicle accident, a fall or a strike to the head with another object that can cause temporary damage or even permanent disabilities.
How does TBI affect an adolescent?
A new study has looked into how a TBI at a young age can have serious long-lasting effects on children. The study published in the journal PLOS ONE also looks at whether sex plays a role in the effects the injured experiences. Researchers find that women who experience a blunt force trauma or TBI at a young age often have emotional impairments where as men tend to have more memory and cognitive deficits.
To help with their study, researchers examined approximately 9,200 students between grades 7 and 12. Students were asked if they had ever sustained a head injury that had them unconscious for at least five minutes or that had caused them to stay overnight in a hospital. The following is a list of what the study showed them:
- More males suffered a TBI than females
- One in five students reported having a TBI
- The most common cause of a TBI was from a team sport
- Both males and females that reported a TBI also reported daily smoking, drinking, drug use, bullying, academic problems and physical injuries
- Females with TBI were more likely to report suicidal thoughts, bullying, cigarette use and psychological distress then males
What do the results show?
This study shows us that adolescents with TBI’s are susceptible to a number of behavioral and psychological harms that co-occur with the history of a TBI. However, it is unclear from the study whether those issues come as a coping method for the injury or if they are caused by the TBI itself. Other studies show that there is an onset of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in children and adolescents within one year of severe pediatric TBI.
How can TBI’s be avoided?
Sports are finally addressing the issue of brain trauma and creating guidelines for examining and allowing players who suffer a head injury back onto the field. There have been many lawsuits filed in both amateur and professional sports that say athletes were not given a proper explanation or warned about the risk of brain injury and some were even pushed to get back into the game. This only puts athletes at a greater risk of permanent damage. These lawsuits and rule changes along with the aforementioned study are helping to shed a new light on the subject, and hopefully it will help lower the number of TBI’s in sports and in general.
If you believe you or your child have developed cognitive or physiological deficits due to a sports or otherwise-related brain injury, contact the LaBovick Law Group for a free consultation, and we will help you receive the compensation you deserve.
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