OBJECTIVES Eighteen surviving adolescents with severe traumatic brain injury were re-examined a mean period of 7.1 years after their trauma in order to determine their life situation, motor, cognitive functions and pattern of handicap. METHODS A structured interview, the EB test of motor function, Ravens's progressive matrices, Peabody's neuropsychological test, SPIQ and the WHO classification of handicap were used. RESULTS The group had a mean WHO Classification of Handicap score of 1.61 (SD 1.60) revealing mild handicap, and performed as a group significantly subnormal (p < 0.0001) in gross motor, fine motor, sensibility and perception sub-tests. The EB test revealed a mean value of 2.23 (SD 0.89) corresponding to mild disability. The mean non-verbal IQ score of 93.1 (SD 13.9) and the verbal score of 93.4 (SD 14.8) were within normal limits. CONCLUSIONS Only 28% of the group of surviving adolescent TBI victims functioned within normal limits. The most crucial disabling component was poor social integration, which was clearly demonstrated in the WHO score.