Prevalence of traumatic brain injury among children, adolescents and young adults: prospective evidence from a birth cohort

Brain Inj. 2008 Feb;22(2):175-81. doi: 10.1080/02699050801888824.


Background: Little is known about the incidence and prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly for infants, children and young adults.

Primary objective: The purpose of this study was to provide an accurate estimate of the incidence and prevalence of TBIs for individuals between 0-25 years of age.

Method and procedures: A birth cohort of 1265 individuals was used, for which information regarding TBI events, both hospitalized and non-hospitalized, had been recorded.

Main outcomes and results: The average incidence for this age group ranged from 1.10-2.36 per 100 per year, with an overall prevalence of approximately 30%. The most common source of injury was falls for individuals 0-14 years of age and contact sports and motor vehicle accidents for 15-25 year olds. Approximately one third of the individuals who experienced a TBI went on to have one or more additional injuries.

Conclusions: The incidence rates reported here are much higher than those previously found. It is clear that TBIs constitute a major health issue and therefore it is important to have accurate information to enable planning for primary healthcare services and to inform prevention programmes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention / standards*
  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Trauma Severity Indices