A single concussion experienced by a child or teenager may have lasting repercussions on mental health and intellectual and physical functioning throughout adulthood, and multiple head injuries increase the risks of later problems, according to one of the largest, most elaborate studies to date of the impacts of head trauma on the young. Scientists concentrated on all Swedes born between 1973 and 1985 and looked for those who had experienced a head injury of some kind before the age of 25. More than 104,000 people qualified.
The results were discomfiting. Young people who had experienced a single diagnosed concussion — which the researchers categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury — were much more likely than the nation’s general population and than their own siblings to be receiving medical disability payments as adults. They also were significantly more likely to have sought mental health care and much less likely to have graduated from high school or to have attended college than their uninjured brother or sister. And they were about twice as likely as an uninjured sibling to die prematurely.