Parents of TBI victims: Please take note

We frequently write about the causes of head trauma. Many traumatic brain injury patients sustain their injuries during falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports collisions and during the birthing process. But no matter how an infant, child or teen sustains a TBI, it is important for parents to understand that this injury may cause consequences well into the future.

Not only can TBI result in learning difficulties and pain, a new study indicates that these injuries place young people at an elevated risk of being bullied and at an elevated risk of attempting suicide during their teen years. Young people who have suffered concussions and more traumatic injuries are both at heightened risk for these frightening scenarios.

The study’s lead author is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. She has concluded that TBI victims are also more likely to be bullies themselves during their adolescence and are generally at an elevated risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors when compared with their non-injured peers. They are also more likely to become runaways and to be prescribed anti-depressant medication.

The study’s lead author recently explained that, “These results show that preventable brain injuries and mental health and behavioral problems among teens continue to remain a blind spot in our culture. These kids are falling through the cracks.”

This study’s conclusions are upsetting. However, understanding the risk factors that plague TBI victims during adolescence can help parents, physicians and educators prepare to effectively help affected kids and teens through this period of growth successfully.

Source: Medical News Today, “Teens more likely to attempt suicide following concussion,” Catharine Paddock, April 17, 2014

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