1 in 5 Teens Have Already Suffered a Concussion
Brain trauma can cause significant decreased function in a person’s brain. Even though we have seen that brain damage can be reversed to some degree, for the best quality of life, a never-damaged brain is by far the best option.
At Amen Clinics, we have the largest database of brain scans relating to behavior. We once treated a 42-year-old woman who had failed six alcohol treatment programs. Her impulse control was virtually zero. She could not even be given a prescription for any medication because she would take them all at once. When we initially asked her if she had ever had a brain injury, she said no. But when we asked her again, she remembered that she had been kicked in the head by a horse when she was 10 years old. Her brain SPECT scan showed severe damage to her prefrontal cortex (PFC).
When the PFC shows damage, most people are in serious trouble. Without the high thinking, executive functions offered by the PFC, this woman had virtually no “supervisor” in her head.
What Research Says About Concussions
This is why new research about the average teenager’s risk of concussion is so concerning. The way they treat their brain today has lifelong implications.
Research shows that one in five teenagers will suffer a concussion, even if they don’t play sports; and the risk rises dramatically if they drink, smoke pot or play a contact sport.
A traumatic brain injury is defined as a head injury that knocked the teenager out for at least five minutes or resulted in overnight hospitalization.
The study involved students in grades 7–12. Here’s what the researchers found:
• Over 20% of teenagers said they had a concussion in their lifetime.
• Nearly 6% said they had suffered at least one concussion in the past year alone.
• 63.5% of concussions in boys were related to sports; 46.9% of concussions in girls were related to sports.
• Teens who drank alcohol, even if just occasionally, were five times more likely to suffer a concussion in the last year than those teens who didn’t drink alcohol.
• Teens who smoked marijuana more than 10 times in the last year were three times more likely to suffer a concussion in the last year than those teens who didn’t smoke marijuana.
A person doesn’t have to be knocked out or hospitalized to have suffered a concussion. If a concussion or traumatic brain injury in this study was measured as a 5-minute blackout or hospitalization, then 20% is a very conservative figure.
It is likely that teenagers sustain a higher rate of traumatic brain injury than this study discovered.
What Brain Injuries Can Tell Us
We have treated people who have suffered from brain injuries they did not think were serious until they saw their SPECT scans. These were often unreported and untreated.
These people can suffer from cognitive, mood, and behavior problems.
They don’t understand why, they just feel they are messed up. As in the case of the woman who was kicked in the head by a horse, after many questions from us, they’ll remember a childhood knock to the head or a “ringer” they suffered in a sports match. Brain SPECT studies will show decreased blood flow to these previously injured parts of the brain and, depending on the location of the injury, can have dramatic impact on behavior, temperament and cognitive power.
We Can Help
At Amen Clinics, we know that brain trauma is not a function of not trying hard enough, being lazy, or not having enough willpower. We will work with you to address your specific brain type. Learn more about how Amen Clinics can help, or contact us today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more online.