Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 52–60 | Cite as

Rates of concussions and minor head injuries in Quebec, 2003 and 2016, in children under 18 years old, and comparisons with Ontario’s rates of mild traumatic brain injuries

  • Glenn Keays
  • Debbie Friedman
  • Isabelle Gagnon
Quantitative Research



Increases of mild traumatic brain injuries in children have been reported in the USA and Ontario over the past decade. The main objective of this study is to calculate the pediatric rates of mild traumatic brain injury in Quebec, and our second objective is to compare them with those in Ontario.


Analysts from the Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ, Quebec Health Insurance Board) compiled tables, by age and sex, of all medical services for mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions and minor head injuries) between 2003 and 2016. Quebec’s population rates were calculated and yearly graphs were plotted by age and sex.


In Quebec, there were statistically significant increases in rates of mild traumatic brain injury (concussion and minor head injury) in older children: a 2.0-fold increase for those aged 13–17 years, and 1.4-fold increase for those aged 9–12 years. When only considering concussions, girls (13–17 years) had more concussions than boys in 2015 and 2016. The increase in the rates of concussion was significantly higher in Ontario than in Quebec: 4.4- vs. 2.2-fold increase.


The recent increase in rates of mild traumatic brain injuries reported in the scientific literature has also been observed in Quebec. The fact that the rate of visits for mild traumatic brain injury, per person, remained the same from 2003 to 2016 suggests that the increase was not the result of parents seeking more medical services, but that more of them consulted when their child injured his/her head.


Adolescents Children Mild traumatic brain injury Concussion 



Des augmentations de taux de traumatismes crâniens (commotions et traumatismes crâniens mineurs) chez les enfants, ont été rapportés aux États-Unis et en Ontario au cours de la dernière décennie. L’objectif principal de cette étude est de calculer les taux de traumatismes crâniens au Québec et comme second objectif, les comparer avec ceux de l’Ontario.


Les analystes de La Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec ont compilé des tableaux, par groupe d’âge et sexe, de tous les actes médicaux pour un traumatisme crânien, entre 2003 et 2016. Les taux populationnels du Québec ont été calculés par âge et sexe, et présentés sous formes de graphiques.


Au Québec, il y a eu des augmentations significatives dans les taux de traumatismes crâniens (commotion et traumatisme crânien mineur) chez les enfants de plus de 13 ans : augmentation de 2,0 fois plus chez les 13-17 ans, et de 1,4 chez les 9-12 ans. Depuis 2015 les filles (13-17 ans) ont eu plus de commotions cérébrales que les garçons. L’augmentation des taux de commotions cérébrales fut significativement plus élevée en Ontario qu’au Québec: 4,4 contre 2,2.


Comme aux États Unis et en Ontario, les taux de traumatismes crâniens ont aussi augmenté au Québec au cours des dernières années. Le fait que le taux de visites pour traumatismes crâniens, par personne, soit demeuré le même de 2003 à 2016, suggère que l’augmentation ne résulte pas d’une augmentation dans les services, mais que plus de parents consultent lorsque leur enfant se blesse à la tête.


Adolescents Enfants Traumatismes crâniens mineurs Commotion 



We thank Mr. Claude Verville, analyst at RAMQ, for his help and support in providing the data. We also thank Dr. Roger Zemek, and all the contributing authors of the Ontario study, who provided numerous supplemental tables and data, without which the comparisons with Quebec’s data would have been impossible.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn Keays
    • 1
  • Debbie Friedman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Isabelle Gagnon
    • 4
  1. 1.The Montreal Children’s HospitalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program, The Montreal Children’s HospitalMcGill University Health Centre, Health CanadaMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Surgery, Faculty of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.School of Physical and Occupational Therapy/PediatricsMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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