Kids fall. They get bumps and bruises. Accidents happen. It’s all a part of growing up. You’ve heard the sayings before but is it true? Actually, it is a common misconception that children recover faster from injuries than adults. In fact, some of their body parts and systems are still developing, which makes a serious injury like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) all the more damaging. The short and long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries have become the subject of a national discussion in recent years, particularly as it relates to adult and youth sports. Here’s what you need to know about traumatic brain injuries in children.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury TBI?
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) refers to any type of trauma to the head that results in brain damage or affects brain function. Some other terms used in discussions of TBI include concussion, head contusion, closed-head injury, and simply “head injury.” In the medical context, traumatic brain injury is also known as craniocerebral trauma. There are many potential causes of traumatic brain injuries, including falls, blunt force trauma, car accidents, and sports injuries. Often, a TBI involves a blow or sudden jolt that causes the brain to move inside of the skull. These injuries can result in loss of consciousness but this is not always the case. While some brain injuries are relatively mild and can be fully recovered from, others are more severe and may result in coma, paralysis, or even death.
Are TBI’s Common in Kids?
Traumatic brain injuries occur in approximately 2.5 million children and adults every year in America. Among those who sustain TBI’s, children often suffer even more negative affects. A child’s skull is pliable, which allows is to grow and expand with the developing brain. Rapid growth of the brain and skull occurs after birth, with continued development occurring until after age 10. The brain is approximately 70% of its adult weight at 18 months, 80% at 3 years, 90% at 5 to 8 years and approximately 95% at 10 years of age. In other words, the skull is soft and malleable for years into childhood, serving a purpose but also creating a significant vulnerability. Estimates suggests that a child’s skull has about 1/8 of the strength when compared with an adult’s skull. With this in mind, it is not surprising that among all fatal injuries in children in the United States, 80% involve trauma to the head.
What does a Traumatic Brain Injury in Childhood mean Long-Term?
Since traumatic brain injuries exist on a spectrum, some children experience more severe and immediate symptoms, while others don’t manifest symptoms of childhood head trauma until years after the initial injury occurs. Some possible signs of a child who suffered a TBI include headache, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, memory loss, confusion, blurred vision, behavioral changes, cognitive impairments, difficulty concentrating and developmental delays. The cognitive, behavioral, and developmental impacts of a childhood traumatic brain injury may be the most difficult to spot and the last to observe.
Concussions are the most discussed form of childhood brain injury. Many of these injuries occur during childhood sporting events and athletics. However, general activities such as playing during recess may lead to concussions as well. There are other forms of traumatic brain injury including contusions, internal bleeding, skull fractures, and brain hemorrhage. Although less common, bleeding in the brain can be deadly. Signs of possible brain hemorrhage include sudden, severe headache; vision impairments; nausea and vomiting; muscle weakness (especially in the arms and legs); altered consciousness; trouble breathing; seizures; and difficulty speaking or swallowing. All of these signal the need for emergency medical care.
Child had a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in New Jersey
If your child has any of the symptoms above or suffered an injury to the head – even with no immediate symptoms – it is important to have them examined by a doctor for signs of a possible traumatic brain injury. Due to the nature of head trauma, it may be difficult to determine the full effects of your child’s TBI for days, months, or even years. For example, processing information and engaging in social interactions may be negatively affected by a TBI in the younger years. Remaining aware of possible changes in their health, thinking, behavior, or learning is critical after an event resulting in any type of trauma to the head.
Additionally, when your child has had a traumatic brain injury, it is important to understand your rights and legal options. You may be able to recover the compensation you need to provide for their long-term care. For additional information, contact our experienced NJ Child Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys at 866-708-8617 or fill out our convenient online form. A member of our team is available immediately to assist you.