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Who is at highest risk for a traumatic brain injury?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

According to the literature the group at highest risk for a traumatic brain injury ranges from infancy through young adulthood (ages 0-4 years and 15-24 years of age), and peaks again in older adulthoods > 65 years of age. Lets consider the risk factors for these groups. Infants and toddlers are at risk for injury relating to children play activities. For example, a four year old may decide that he or she will jump off a bed onto the floor, as their parent just turns their head for a second to put away laundry; which could result in serious head trauma. The adolescent and young adult groups are just getting their driver license and are inexperienced drivers. This group appears to have a high incidence of motor vehicle accidents resulting in a serious injury. Older adults are in the high risk group due to risk for falling, which could cause a serious head injury if they hit their head when falling.

Those at highest risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI) are the very young, under 4 years old, and those older than 65. There is an additional peak in late teens and early 20s. More severe TBI is associated most frequently with falls, motor vehicle accidents and violence including military combat. More mild TBI and concussion happen most commonly from motor vehicle accidents, falls, injury on the job and recreational activities including weekend or after-school sports. Common contact sports that are associated with increased rates of TBI include football, ice hockey, soccer, boxing and rugby. Overall men are at higher risk of TBI than women and it occurs more frequently in those of lower socioeconomic status. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.