What are the Most Common Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in Teens?

What are the Most Common Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in Teens? When you have a child, there are many worries and concerns you will have for their safety and well-being. One injury you may not be expecting is a traumatic brain injury. This is an injury that results from a blow, jolt or bump to the head.

The complications that can come with a traumatic brain injury are extensive, and this injury can change the entire course of someone’s life. If your teen has suffered from a TBI, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. If the injury was directly caused due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to obtain compensation for the loss of quality of life that your teen may now face.

TBI by the numbers

You may be under the impression that traumatic brain injuries in children are not a common occurrence. However, it is estimated that half a million children between the ages of 0 through 14 are admitted to emergency rooms as a result of a TBI. When it comes to children between 0 and 24 years old, the CDC reports 691 instances of a TBI for every 100,000 children.

Children between 0 and 4 years old are the most vulnerable to brain injuries – the largest group of people to be admitted to emergency rooms for a TBI, at 1,256 per every 100,000 children. The next most susceptible group is teens between the ages of 15 and 19 years of age, with 757 per 100,000 teens.

Further, data shows that boys are more susceptible to TBIs than girls. However, that trend has been changing with recent data. Sports seem to be the main cause, as the increase in women in high school and college athletics have led to more girls getting concussions than boys who play the same sports.

What are the types of TBIs?

There are three categories under which a traumatic brain injury can fall. These include:

  • Mild TBIs. This can mean that there was a loss of consciousness for less than 30 minutes. An uncomplicated mild TBI means there are no overt neuroimaging findings, while a complicated TBI will have intracranial abnormalities. This can be detected by a CT scan or MRI.
  • Moderate TBIs. Loss of consciousness that lasts between one and 24 hours.
  • Severe TBIs. Loss of consciousness that lasts over 24 hours.

One form of a mild TBI is a concussion. An individual may have a concussion without losing consciousness. Concussions as a form of TBI have garnered media attention over the past few years, especially in relation to sports. Many teens will join sports during high school and college, which can be one of the biggest causes of a concussion.

What are the major causes of TBI in teens?

The cause of a traumatic brain injury can vary by age and severity. The leading causes in children and teens aged 0 to 14 include:

  • Falls (50.2%)
  • Struck by object (24.8%)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (6.8%)
  • Assault (2.9%)
  • Unknown (15.3%)

Sports injuries are not included in this list, as those typically come up later during the teenage years and are more prevalent in children and teens in elementary and high school.

You do not have to discourage your children from participating in sports, but should encourage them to always stay safe if they do, and ensure the school or organization is trained in TBI protocol.

What are the signs and symptoms of TBI?

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can vary by severity, site, age, and other factors. However, there are some signs you can look for that may mean your child has a TBI. After the initial injury, it is important to continue to monitor your child, as complications can cause long-term development issues.

After all, a traumatic brain injury directly affects the functions of your brain, and a child’s brain is still developing. TBIs can exist with other developmental conditions like ADHD, autism, speech disorders, and more. Look for any of these symptoms after your child has suffered a head injury:


Vomiting, changes in bowel or bladder functions, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea, pain, reduced muscle strength, seizures, loss of consciousness, or impaired movement.


Difficulty hearing, complete hearing loss, sound hypersensitivity, or loss of stability and balance.


Double vision, sensitivity to light, or changes in perception of shapes, color, size, and depth.


Difficulty keeping attention, reduced attention span, impaired sustained attention to complete tasks, difficulty shifting attention between tasks, reduced processing speed resulting in confusion, memory and learning difficulties, or difficulty navigating surroundings.

Some signs and symptoms of TBI especially important to look for in toddlers and infants include:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of language and speech
  • Loss of balance
  • Sensitivity to noise and light
  • Change in ability to pay attention
  • Increased irritability
  • Loss of learned skills

After any kind of head injury, it is important to immediately seek medical attention and note any changes you may notice in your child or teen.

Treatments of TBI in teens

Treatment can be different for each patient, as TBIs affect brain function in different people. Your doctor will consider previous function levels, developmental status, and age when determining a treatment plan. Any prior issues will also need to be considered.

Treatment focuses on getting the patient as back to normal as possible. Various interventions may be used to return learned skills and cognitive function.

If your teen has suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of another person’s negligence, you will need an experienced attorney in your corner. Contact The Hayden Law Firm today to find out how we can work to secure the compensation to which you are entitled. Call us today at 314-480-3100 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation. You can also complete our online contact form.