According to a new study, teens who have suffered a serious brain injury, such as a concussion, are twice as likely to be bullied and roughly three times as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who haven’t.

The study, which was recently published in the open-access online journal PLOS ONE, drew upon data from the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, which contains responses from nearly 9,300 students between grades 7 and 12 in 181 publicly funded schools across Ontario. Questions about traumatic brain injuries were added to the OSDUHS for the first time in 2011 and were answered by a sub-sample of 4,816 students.

The teenagers were asked whether they had ever suffered a head injury that resulted in them being unconscious for at least five minutes or required at least one night’s stay in a hospital. Just under a fifth of the students had suffered at least one head injury that met one of those qualifications.

According to the results of the survey, teens who have sustained a concussion are at significantly greater risk of engaging in a variety of high risk behaviors including crimes like arson, theft, property damage, running away from home, breaking and entering, and assault. They are also more likely to become bullies, seek counseling, and be prescribed medication for depression and/or anxiety.

“These results show that preventable brain injuries and mental health and behavioral problems among teens continue to remain a blind spot in our culture,” said Gabriela Ilie, the lead author of the study and a post-doctoral fellow at St. Michael’s Hospital, in a statement. “These kids are falling through the cracks.”

Teenagers who have suffered a concussion also tend to be victimized by peers more frequently than those who haven’t endured a traumatic brain injury. They had twice the odds of being bullied at school or via the Internet and almost three times the odds of being threatened at school with a weapon.

The findings “point to the need for primary health-care providers, as well as schools, to be aware of the potential co-morbid conditions affecting the health and well-being of young people who have suffered [traumatic brain injuries],” Ilie and her colleagues conclude.

This study highlights the importance of treating head injuries with the appropriate level of seriousness. Injuries which may have minimal outwardly visible symptoms can result in serious challenges later in life if not met with great care and concern at the time of injury.

If you or someone you know has sustained a brain injury of any severity as the result of the carelessness of another, my Virginia-based personal injury law firm may be able to help you. We specialize in representing those who, through no fault of their own, have suffered trauma to the head which results in damage to the brain. You do not have to suffer in vain, contact us today.