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Traumatic brain injury victims may be 3 times more likely to die young

Traumatic brain injury victims may be 3 times more likely to die young

February 14, 2014

After German Formula One race car driver Michael Schumacher suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) this winter, the issues surrounding TBIs are gaining more attention in the public eye. While it’s no secret that TBIs can be devastating, a new study shows that TBI victims are three more times likely to die young.


According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association (JAMA), the effects of TBI injuries can be tragic. Researchers from Oxford University reviewed over 200,000 medical records from people born after 1953 who had suffered a TBI between the years 1969 and 2009. Unfortunately, what they discovered was that those people had a three times greater chance of dying young, which is defined as before 56 years old. In addition, researchers reported that those who died early and had a TBI were more likely to be a victim of an assault, have a fatal injury or commit suicide.

In coming to these conclusions, researchers looked at death rates and how their diagnosis played a role in their outcome by comparing siblings in which one had suffered a TBI and others did not. This allowed them to control for genetic factors and issues related to early upbringing. In the end, they concluded that TBI victims had a:

  • 3 times greater chance of dying young.
  • 2.6 times greater chance of dying younger than their siblings who had not suffered a TBI.
  • 20 times greater chance of dying young when previously diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.

Traumatic brain injuries can change the brain’s neural network. This makes it more difficult for patients to use their best judgment and adjust to new situations. Sadly, this may be the case for German Formula One race car driver Michael Schumacher, whose doctors are currently trying to arouse him from his comatose state. They say that if he does recover, he may never be the same person mentally.


TBIs can occur from a rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain in a violent accident or seemingly simple blow to the head. They often result in shearing (or tearing) of nerve fibers, contusions (bruising) of the brain tissue against the skull, brain stem injuries and edema (swelling).

The long-term effects of a TBI or head injury can include cognitive problems, reduction in motor skills and other very serious physical deficits. They can also be costly. In fact, it is estimated that the lifetime expenses needed to care for someone with a brain injury can be $2 million or more on average. That’s a lot for any family to take on alone.

If you’ve suffered a TBI due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • medical costs
  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • loss of consortium
  • loss of current and future earnings
  • punitive damages (in some cases)

Families of TBI victims may also be entitled to additional compensation if they are forced to alter their lifestyles in order to care for their loved one. An experienced Hawaii brain injury lawyer can analyze your situation, assess your legal options and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about what’s right for you and your family.

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