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A single concussion experienced by a child or teenager may have lasting repercussions on mental health and intellectual and physical functioning throughout adulthood, and multiple head injuries increase the risks of later problems, according to one of the largest, most elaborate studies to date of the impacts of head trauma on the young.

Young people who had experienced a single diagnosed concussion — which the researchers categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury — were much more likely than the nation’s general population and than their own siblings to be receiving medical disability payments as adults.

They also were significantly more likely to have sought mental health care and much less likely to have graduated from high school or to have attended college than their uninjured brother or sister.

And they were about twice as likely as an uninjured sibling to die prematurely.

The possibility of lingering physical or psychological problems during adulthood rose precipitously, the researchers found, if someone had experienced more than one concussion while young, or if his or her brain injury had been more severe than a concussion.

– Gretchen Reynolds

Read more: A Single Concussion May Have A Lasting Impact