Trends in self-reported traumatic brain injury among Canadians, 2005-2014: a repeated cross-sectional analysis [2017]

Background: Concussion and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a form of unintentional injury that has been associated with both short- and long-term health effects, including possible disability. We investigated time trends in the incidence of all types of injury and TBIs among Canadians, and assessed characteristics of TBIs.

Methods: We used data from annual cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey, 2005 to 2014, to examine all types of injury and TBI among Canadians aged 12 years or more. We estimated TBI incidence among respondents who reported any type of injury in the previous year. We used descriptive methods to describe key characteristics (sex, age, season, activity and venue) and 5- and 10-year trends, and generalized linear models to estimate annual percent change in the incidence of all types of injury and TBI.

Results: The incidence of all types of injury and of TBIs increased between 2005 and 2014, with an annual percent change of 1.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.9-1.9) and 9.6 (95% CI 8.2-11.0), respectively. Sport venues (39.9% [95% CI 32.7-47.1)] and sports-related activities (49.7% [95% CI 42.4-57.0]) were commonly associated with TBIs, and falls were the most frequent mechanism of injury (53.9% [95% CI 46.7-61.0]) leading to a TBI.

Interpretation: Our findings highlight the increasing trends in all types of injury and TBIs in Canada, and underscore the need for ongoing population level surveillance and targeted prevention efforts to mitigate risk.

Deepa P. Rao, PhD, Steven McFaull, MSc, Wendy Thompson, MSc, Gayatri C. Jayaraman, PhD

CMAJ Open, April 24, 2017

doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20160115