Brain injury is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the two age groups at greatest risk for brain injury are age 0-4 and 15-19.
Among those ages 0 to 19, each year an average of 62,000 children sustain brain injuries requiring hospitalization as a result of motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports injuries, physical abuse and other causes.
Brain injury symptoms in children and teens are similar to those experienced by adults, but the functional impact can be very different. Children are not small adults; the brain of a child is still developing.
Research has shown that although a child can appear to recover more quickly from a brain injury than an adult this is not the case. A brain injury actually can have a more devastating impact on a child than an injury of the same severity on a mature adult.
CONCUSSIONS IN CHILDREN & TEENS
New research and findings regarding pediatric concussion are being published every day. Research is exploring why some children are able to recover from a concussion and return to a normal routine within a few weeks while others struggle with persistent symptoms for months. Research is also finding that on average females can take longer to recover than males. More and more is being learned about long term effects of concussion and traumatic brain injury on children and their developing minds. A child may seem to completely return to normal after a concussion but once they reach a new stage of development and new skills are needed, such as abstract thinking, a child may struggle due to his injury and be misdiagnosed as having a learning disability or emotional problem.
Below are resources to review and learn more about brain injury/concussion in children including: recognizing symptoms, understanding care after an injury and follow up with physicians.
PEDIATRIC BRAIN INJURY/CONCUSSION RESOURCES
Pediatric Brain Injury:
- Center for Disease Control, HEADS UP on Concussion
- Download Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation: Concussion Information for Patients and Families.
- Concussion Care and Recovery Pathway
- Interview guide: Questions to ask concussion clinics or groups of providers
- Taking Care of your Child After Their Head’s Been Hurt
- Persistent Post Concussion Symptoms after injury: Vulnerability and Protective Factors
Facing a brain injury is a difficult challenge. The Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City is here to help. Call 800-444-6443 or 913-754-8883, extension 1, to reach our Program Director.