When the Canadian Institute for Health Information looked at hospital admissions for traumatic head injuries from 1994 to 2004 it found that overall, injuries were down by 35 per cent since 1994, with children and youth showing the largest drop.
However, although head-injury hospitalizations showed an overall decrease the number of people admitted with severe injuries, the kind that can significantly impair physical, emotional, cognitive and social functioning, increased by 46 per cent by 2004.
Margaret Keresteci, manager of clinical registries at the institute said, "When you take into account the often life-long impacts associated with head injuries, you start to get an idea of how important the decrease in traumatic injuries is, and how vital it is to understand the factors related to the rise in admissions to specialized trauma hospitals for serious head injuries."
The fall in injuries among children and youth could probably be attributed to them receiving the message about the importance of wearing helmets.
The researchers also found that over the past decade the number of hospital admissions for cycling-related head injury among people under age 20 decreased by 55 per cent, from 1,085 to 494.
The major causes of traumatic head injuries in 2003-2004 for all Canadians were falls by 45 per cent, motor vehicle accidents by 36 per cent and assault by nine per cent.
The institute reported that falls accounted for the largest proportion of traumatic injuries in children and youth, and among Canadians over age 60.