Child Brain Injuries Vary in Length of Recovery

A bump, blow, jolt or other injury to the head can cause traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Children get bumps and bruises from time to time and are therefore prone to suffer TBIs. At least one in 30 children will experience a TBI by the time they turn 16 years old, according to two new studies published in Pediatrics.

Although kids often bounce back from minor injuries, parents should be extra cautious when a child suffers any kind of head injury. According to one of the new studies, about one-third of children who survive a TBI will have long-term problems.

Brain Injury-Related Problems

According to the National Institutes for Health, a TBI can cause a wide range of changes affecting the child's thinking, sensation, language and emotions. TBIs can also be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, memory loss and coordination problems.

Children who suffer even mild brain injuries have an increased risk of behavior problems, the studies found. Those with moderate or severe TBIs can experience problems affecting cognitive function and IQ level. They generally take longer to learn concepts, and some high-level skills are difficult to master.

Recovery From Brain Injuries

The studies confirmed that most kids with TBIs classified as mild can fully recover. Those with severe TBIs, while they can recover, have difficulty. After a long, drawn-out recovery period, children with severe TBIs can stabilize and continue to develop. It cannot be predicted with certainty, though, which children will have the most successful outcomes.

A child's level of recovery primarily depends on the type of brain injury: an isolated injury will typically have a better prognosis than an injury to the whole brain, which often damages a greater amount of brain-cell connections. Other factors that contribute to a child's successful recovery after a TBI include:

  • Stable, cohesive home environments
  • Parents with lower levels of stress and conflict
  • Access to appropriate rehabilitation facilities

Parents of children who have suffered head injuries should contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to handle their case and pursue any available legal claims arising out of the child's accident.