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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Sept. 30, 2016

New research just released in Plos Medicine indicates that there is a wide range of medical and social outcomes associated with traumatic brain injuries in childhood and adolescence. Specifically, in analyzing over 1 million people who experienced a traumatic brain injury in the first 25 years of life, researchers found that, as adults, those who experienced at least one traumatic brain injury in childhood were more likely to die early, be treated for a psychiatric illness, and/or be less likely to complete secondary schooling.

While it might be common sense that, the worse the brain injury, the more significant the brain damage later in life, the study found a strong link between even the mildest and most common form of brain injury (a concussion) and serious issues later on; specifically, even just one exposure to a concussion or other mild brain injury increased the chances of early death and low educational attainment by 18 to 52 percent later in life. In the study, concussions constituted 75 percent of the childhood brain injuries recorded.

The Mildest Injury Is a Problem

Traumatic brain injuries typically occur when there is damage to the brain by an outside force, such as being hit by an object while playing sports or suffering from a serious impact in a car accident. If moderate to severe, they can result in permanent structural damage to the brain; sometimes even death. However, even a knock to the head that isn’t strong enough to constitute a concussion has been shown to affect brain physiology and affect the functioning of neurons, and multiple concussions can lead to a permanent neurodegenerative disease (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Unfortunately, MRIs and CT imaging cannot pick up structural damage from concussions, making it more difficult to make a diagnosis in the first place.

Damage After 15

While previous sources indicated that early childhood damage causes problems, in fact, this new study indicates that children who are older than 15 years of age are the ones who end up with the most problems in adulthood when it comes to brain damage. This is possibly because the brain is better able to adapt and change in our younger years.

Regardless of how much research is collected, it is clear that it is society’s obligation to ensure that head trauma is minimized in childhood. For preschoolers and toddlers, parental supervision is key in order to prevent falls. For older children, concussion reduction is more challenging, as even requiring helmets does not protect the brain sufficiently; parents, schools, sports leagues, etc. must do a better job of preventing these injuries in the first place.

Dedicated Representation for Victims of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain injury attorney Mike Walker understands the impact that head injuries can have on victims and their families. Being denied medical services through health insurance companies can be frustrating, unjust, and stressful. If you or a loved one has experienced a head or brain injury, seek help from an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer. Contact Mike Walker in Clearwater today for a free consultation.