Teenagers with Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Most Likely to Consume Energy Drinks

Brain Injury

By Sandra Dalton, Staff Writer

Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital have found that teenagers who had sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) within the last year were seven times more likely to have consumed at least five energy drinks within the last week than those who had never suffered a TBI. Those whose TBI was sustained while playing sports were twice as likely to consume energy drinks than whose TBI was not sports-related.

Studying the Correlation between TBI, Sports, Alcohol and Energy Drinks in Teens

The study, titled Energy Drinks, Alcohol, Sports and Traumatic Brain Injuries among Adolescents, was published in the journal PLOS ONE, on September 16, 2015. Researchers looked at data from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), in which 10,272 7th to 12th graders, age 11 to 20, completed anonymous questionnaires.

For purposes of the study, “recent” TBI is defined as TBI within the last year and “former” TBI is TBI sustained prior to the last 12 months.

The researchers discovered that teens with recent TBI were more likely to consume alcohol, energy drinks, and energy drinks combined with alcohol than those with former TBI or no history of TBI. Those with sports-related TBI were more likely to drink energy drinks than whose TBI had another cause.

The study does not show a causal link. At this point researchers do not know if consuming energy drinks and/or alcohol are a coping mechanism that teens use to help deal with the symptoms of TBI or if they were consuming the substances pre-injury, making it more likely that they would sustain injuries.

What we do know is that energy drinks and alcohol, separately and in combination, can interfere with TBI recovery.

Monster Settles Wrongful Death Suits

The link to TBI is not the only health concern related to energy drinks. In May, 2015, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Monster Energy Corp. had settled two wrongful death lawsuits in the previous month. Another suit, involving the death of a 14-year-old girl who drank two 24 ounce cans of Monster in a 24 hour period, and other product liability suits against Monster are pending.

The WSJ also says that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing about 300 adverse event reports involving energy drinks including Monster, Red Bull, and 5-Hour Energy. The reports included 31 deaths.

If you believe that your injury or the death of a loved one was caused by energy drink consumption, you can learn more about your rights and how you can recover damages for your losses by searching our directory to find a lawyer near you.

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