Study indicates 1 in 5 risk of head injuries among Ontario teens

Posted by Goldstein DeBiase Manzocco on July 01, 2014

A Canadian study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June 2013 indicated that one in five adolescents in Ontario has suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in unconsciousness or led to hospitalisation. The results of the study, which CTV indicates was originally intended as a drug-use study, has very real implications for the long-term health of the teens since brain injuries have been associated with everything from lower test scores to potential for disabilities in the future, according to a report in the Toronto Sun. Some of these consequences can be permanent.

Common causes of brain injuries

The Ontario youths' brain injuries were most often caused while playing sports such as hockey and soccer, according to the study, which was unique in that it relied upon self-reported injuries rather than the hospital records used by previous brain injury studies for this age group. About 46 percent of all girls' brain injuries and 63 percent of boys' brain injuries happened while playing sports. This may have implications for traumatic brain injury lawsuits as it could cause teens' parents to be more vigilant when it comes to checking on their kids' health after sports practice and ensuring that safe equipment is provided while they are engaging in high-impact sports.

Alcohol and marijuana have also been linked to head injuries, with teens who reported drinking or doing drugs being up to five times more likely to suffer a head injury than their counterparts who abstained, reports the Toronto Sun. As minors, teens are not legally allowed to have alcohol, so someone else's negligence may be to blame for an incident. A person who furnished alcohol or drugs to a minor may be legally liable for his or her injury.

The hidden costs of a brain injury

According to the Brain Injury Society of Toronto, each severe brain injury requiring hospitalisation costs more than $400,000 for the hospital to treat. Not only that, but brain injuries are the leading cause of death among Ontario children and youths at nearly 50 percent. Enduring one brain injury makes youths up to three times more likely to sustain another one in their lifetimes. Even if they aren't knocked unconscious, they may still suffer a mild traumatic brain injury, also known as a concussion or mTBI. This could have hidden health consequences as it may damage a child's brain at the cellular level, according to the BIST fact sheet.

How a lawyer can help

Because brain injuries that result in hospitalisation could have long-term or permanent consequences, it may be appropriate to take legal action to get compensation for the medical expenses resulting from the injury, including physical therapy and other such rehabilitative care. Legal action could also be used to compel sports leagues or teams to introduce child safety practices, such as implementing padded goal posts, moveable nets and proper protective gear, to mitigate the risk of head injuries. A personal injury lawyer may be able to assist families in determining the guilty party in a traumatic brain injury lawsuit as well as help with filing all the necessary paperwork.

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