There is s Strong Link Between Concussion and Mental Health Issues in Children and Youth


Concussion is a major health concern in children and has been strongly linked to mental health problems and even to lower IQ scores for up to 7 years following injury. It is also known that children take longer to recover from concussion.

New research conducted at Australia’s Murdock Children’s Research Institute has determined that mental health assessments should be conducted as a standard part of the medical evaluation in children post-concussion. The study found that nearly one-third of kids develop mental health problems following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Pediatric concussion assessment and management were the focus of the study which consisted of a literature review of 40 years of articles on concussion . Covering close to 90,0000 0-18 year-old children in nine countries including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and America.  

The major sources of concussions

Concussions in the 90,000 children came mainly from the following sources:

  • Falls (42%)
  • Sports (30%)
  • Car Accidents (16%)

Report Findings

The analysis of children and concussion found that almost 36% of children experienced significant issues with:

  • Withdrawal
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Attention and hyperactivity problems

These are higher than seen in the healthy population or even children who were treated for other injuries like broken arms.

Another key finding was that those children who suffered mental health problems before concussion were more likely to have a new diagnosis of mental health issues post-concussion.

Most children saw significant improvements in their mental health issues within 6 months of their injury but others sadly do not.

Next Steps

Clinicians are now focussing on research trials for intervention with children who have concussion, and to prevent the development of long-term post-concussion symptoms. These steps include:

  • Preventing concussion
  • Early and accurate diagnosis of concussion
  • Incorporating mental health assessment and therapy where required in post-injury management
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