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A brain injury in childhood may mean difficulty in adulthood

With the heightened awareness of concussions in professional sports, Texas parents may be rightly concerned about head trauma as their children return to school athletics. However, participating in a sport is not the only way a child may receive a brain injury. In fact, a new international study shows that children who suffer even mild concussions may experience more difficulties in life as they get older.

The study, which followed over a million people who had been injured before the age of 25, concluded that concussions nearly double the risk of mental illness in adulthood. Additionally, an adult who received a traumatic brain injury as a child was 76 percent more likely to need disability benefits and 72 percent more likely to die in their 30s. Head injuries in childhood also increased the possibility that a person would drop out of high school and rely on welfare as an adult.

If an injury occurred when the child was very young, the study determined that the resilient brain was more likely to recover with fewer negative consequences. On the other hand, a child who was injured in adolescence or young adulthood, or one who suffered multiple injuries, had an increased likelihood of serious difficulties later in life. Of course, the more serious the injury, the more likely it is that the person will experience some lifelong effects.

In the United States, over 200,000 children were injured in recreational activities in 2009. Although most parents in Texas take measures to protect their children from a brain injury, such as providing helmets, those protections may not help if the child is involved in an automobile accident, for example. In some situations, parents may be able to seek compensation for the injury, which may help cover the cost of medical treatment and long-term care. An experienced personal injury attorney will help them determine if they have a claim.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Long-term risks of childhood head injury may include winding up on welfare and premature death", Melissa Healy, Aug. 23, 2016

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