Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are known to alter an individual’s behavior, from mood to social abilities. A recent Canadian study confirmed just how these severe injuries affect teens.

The St. Michael’s Hospital study examined 4,685 public school students between seventh and 12th grades who also took the Ontario Student Drug and Health Survey. All were asked about receiving a head injury that left them unconscious for at least five minutes or that put them in the hospital overnight.

Then, the researchers questioned them about their mental health and behavior: specifically if they suffered from depression, anxiety, or social dysfunction, had attempted or considered suicide, called a helpline, or had been prescribed medication for depression over the last 12 months. The researchers proceeded to ask students if they suffered from standard or cyber bullying.

Out of the group involved, 20 percent had a lifetime TBI injury, with males 47 percent more likely to experience this condition.

In terms of this group, 52 percent of students who suffered a TBI were:
• More likely to have greater psychological stress
• 3.39 times as likely to attempt suicide
• 1.93 times likely to consider suicide
• 2.1 times as likely to seek out counseling
• 2.45 times as likely to be prescribed medication
• 1.7 times as likely to be bullied
• Twice as likely to engage in criminal behavior, such as thefts, arson, breaking and entering, running away, or intentionally hurting someone.
Than their peers who never experienced a serious TBI.

While student athletes experiencing TBIs is nothing new, particularly as more attention is paid to helmets used in football and other sports, the survey did not specify how the students received a TBI.

Aside from mood changes, those who experienced a TBI may have memory loss, have difficulty focusing, become frustrated easily, display impulsive or aggressive behavior, and show symptoms of depression.