(HealthDay News) – In a school survey of students in grades 7–12, 20% of students reported a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at some time in their life, and 5.6% had an injury within the past 12 months, according to a research letter published in the June 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Gabriela Ilie, PhD, of the Injury Prevention Research Office at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues derived data from a large representative sample of students, aged 11–20 years, in grades 7–12, to determine the prevalence of TBI, mechanisms of injury, and correlates associated with TBI.

The researchers found that the mean age of the participants was approximately 15 years. The estimated prevalence of TBI in their lifetime (excluding the past 12 months) was about 20%. Among the participants, 5.6% reported at least one TBI in the preceding 12 months. For TBIs in the past 12 months, more than half (56%) were caused by sports injuries, which were more common in boys (63.3%) than in girls (46.9%). Students with poor school grades were significantly more likely to experience a lifetime TBI (odds ratio, 3.93) compared with those with high grades. Students who reported occasional to frequent use of alcohol and cannabis were at increased risk for TBI in the past 12 months than those who reported no substance abuse.

“20% of Ontario students in grades 7–12 in this province-wide school survey reported a TBI at some point in their life, and 5.6% sustained a TBI in the last 12 months,” the authors write.

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