Research Reports - Energy drinks, alcohol, sports and traumatic brain injuries among adolescents

PLoS One. 2015 Sep 16;10(9):e0135860. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135860.
eCollection 2015.

Ilie G(1), Boak A(2), Mann RE(3), Adlaf EM(3), Hamilton H(3), Asbridge M(4), Rehm
J(3), Cusimano MD(5).

IMPORTANCE: The high prevalence of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) among
adolescents has brought much focus to this area in recent years. Sports injuries
have been identified as a main mechanism. Although energy drinks, including those
mixed with alcohol, are often used by young athletes and other adolescents they
have not been examined in relation to TBI.
OBJECTIVE: We report on the prevalence of adolescent TBI and its associations
with energy drinks, alcohol and energy drink mixed in with alcohol consumption.
DESIGN, SETTINGS AND PARTICIPANTS: Data were derived from the Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health's 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey
(OSDUHS). This population-based cross-sectional school survey included 10,272 7th
to 12th graders (ages 11-20) who completed anonymous self-administered
questionnaires in classrooms.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mild to severe TBI were defined as those resulting in a
loss of consciousness for at least five minutes, or being hospitalized for at
least one night. Mechanism of TBI, prevalence estimates of TBI, and odds of
energy drink consumption, alcohol use, and consumption of energy drinks mixed
with alcohol are assessed.
RESULTS: Among all students, 22.4% (95% CI: 20.7, 24.1) reported a history of
TBI. Sports injuries remain the main mechanism of a recent (past year) TBI
(45.5%, 95% CI: 41.0, 50.1). Multinomial logistic regression showed that relative
to adolescents who never sustained a TBI, the odds of sustaining a recent TBI
were greater for those consuming alcohol, energy drinks, and energy drinks mixed
in with alcohol than abstainers. Odds ratios were higher for these behaviors
among students who sustained a recent TBI than those who sustained a former TBI
(lifetime but not past 12 months). Relative to recent TBI due to other causes of
injury, adolescents who sustained a recent TBI while playing sports had higher
odds of recent energy drinks consumption than abstainers.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: TBI remains a disabling and common condition among
adolescents and the consumption of alcohol, energy drinks, and alcohol mixed with
energy drinks further increase the odds of TBI among adolescents. These
associations warrant further investigation. 

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