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Brain injury in childhood may mean difficulties in adulthood

Patricia M. Jarzobski

A recent worldwide study has renewed attention in Colorado and across the United States to the dangers of head injuries in children. The study tracked the progress of over a million people who had suffered a brain injury when they were young. These ranged from traumatic injuries to mild concussions. The study found that head injuries occurring when a person is very young may result in serious complications in adulthood.

According to the data, a single blow to the head resulted in a higher risk of psychiatric illness later in life. Additionally, researchers found that children receiving brain injuries may be 76 percent more likely to need disability benefits as adults and 72 percent more likely to die in their 30s. The forecast is worse for those with recurrent injuries. Those who were injured as children seemed to recover better than those injured as teens or young adults. Researchers suspect this is because the younger brain is more resilient.

The study found that it is more common for people who are injured before the age of 25 to drop out of high school and rely on welfare as adults. If these levels of disability existed in the United States, researchers estimate the cost to taxpayers would be over a trillion dollars. Authors of the study encourage the wearing of helmets and protective gear and reducing unsupervised, reckless behavior in children.

However, while some may guess that sports is the most common cause of brain injury among young people in the United States, the leading cause is automobile accidents. The injury of a child in a car accident may mean a lifetime of suffering and illness. This could include medical bills, long-term care and even premature death. Colorado parents facing these possibilities may also be concerned with how to afford the best possible care for their children. Pursing a personal injury claim may help them pay for the resources needed.

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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