Is There A Link Between Traumatic Brain Injuries and Energy Drinks?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often result from trauma to a person’s head that causes damage to or compromises some aspect of brain function.

TBIs can range from mild to severe, and many TBIs that people suffer are known more commonly as concussions. As researchers try to find ways to limit the number of TBIs, they may have found a possible link between the incidences of TBIs and energy drinks.

Why Are TBIs An Issue?

Doctors have been alarmed by the sharp increase in TBIs, especially since these types of injuries account for 30 percent of all injury fatalities in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One of the big reasons TBIs have become such a prominent part of the public discourse is due to the highly-publicized class-action lawsuits filed against the National Football League by former players related to the long-term health consequences of concussions.

In fact, concussions are the most common type of TBI, and they can cause memory loss (short-term and long-term), headaches, dizziness, vertigo, anger and disorientation.

And because TBIs are so common in sports, the CDC estimates that more than 320,000 children under the age of 19, “were treated in U.S. emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI.”

Playing sports is one of the most common causes of TBIs, but falls, assaults and auto accidents are also leading causes of these injuries.

New Studies Raise Questions About Energy Drinks and TBIs

A recent study published in PLOS ONE journal found a link between teenagers who suffered a TBI and energy drink consumption.

Per the study, “teens who reported a traumatic brain injury in the past year were seven times more likely to have consumed at least five energy drinks in the past week than those without a history of TBI.”

Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto, said there could be several reasons for this link, but the most likely was the high level of caffeine in energy drinks.

“Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Rockstar, contain high levels of caffeine and change the chemical state of the body, which can prevent people from getting back on track after a TBI,” Cusimano stated. “Brain injuries among adolescents are particularly concerning because their brains are still developing.”

Dr. Robert Mann, Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said that though the study does not prove a causal link, it does indicate that athletes who consume significant amounts of energy drink should be aware that if they suffer a TBI, the effects of the injury may be worsened.

Energy drink consumption is especially high among athletes, due to its ability to restore energy, provide mood-boosting caffeine and enhance alertness. And because TBIs are more likely in people who engage in sports, the link between these injuries and energy drinks is understandable.

St. Martin Hospital researchers had conducted previous studies which found that TBIs could lead to mental health problems, violence, increased aggression and substandard academic performance.

Standing Up For Your Rights

If you or someone you love has suffered a TBI that was caused by the negligence of a third party, the team at Miller Kory Rowe LLP wants to hear from you. We would love to offer you a free legal consultation so you can learn all the options you have to file a claim, and how we can help you find a measure of peace in this difficult time. Call us today at (602) 461-8640.

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