Long Term Affects of Head Injuries in Children: A Perspective for Parents of Children With Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

head injuryIt is not uncommon for children to suffer head injuries in accidents such as automobile collisions, bike accidents, and sports activities. A new study by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine documents the long term effects of these types of brain injuries in children.

The researchers looked at the progress of 250 children admitted to two hospitals for either mild traumatic brain injuries or broken bones. The study showed that those with mild traumatic brain injuries were more likely than the others to have headaches, tiredness, and trouble thinking a year after being seen at the emergency room. This was especially true if there was unconsciousness following the injury or there were visible changes on the MRI brain scan. Even small impacts to the child’s head can lead to long term problems.

Given the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries, it is important to recognize the symptoms. The common symptoms include one or more of the following signs:
The child appears dazed or stunned; there is confusion; cannot remember instructions: moves clumsily: answers questions slowly; loses consciousness, even slowly; shows mood or personality changes; cannot recall events prior to or after the head injury. Other signs may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, double vision, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, or sluggish feelings. If you child displays any of these symptoms following a blow to the head caused by an accident, fall, or collision, they should be seen by a doctor immediately.

Each year more than a half million children end up in emergency rooms with traumatic brain injuries. These can cause long term problems which may necessitate the child needing extra held with school, due to headaches, fatigue or other physical symptoms which can often last up to a year and in some instances, can be permanent.

As a traumatic brain injury lawyer in Alameda, I have represented many children with mild traumatic brain injuries. I caution my clients that their child’s head injury should not be taken lightly. The symptoms should be monitored closely and the child should be held our of potentially dangerous activities, such as contact sports, until such time, as he/she has fully recovered from the concussion. In cases where personal injury actions have been filed because the injury was caused by the negligence of someone else, such as in a car accident, or bicycle accident, it is important to fully document the residual effects or the injury, and not conclude any settlement until the child has fully recovered from her injuries.

In the case of minor traumatic brain injuries where litigation is involved, the residual effects can often be subtle but debilitation nonetheless. Therefore, in these cases, a child should be seen by a pediatric neuropsychologist who can perform the appropriate psychometric testing to identify and document subtle deficits which can present learning and retention problems that may be permanent in nature.

Resources:

Injury Prevention & Control: Traumatic Brain Injury, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

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