Many of you have probably seen the highlights about David Huff; he is a pitcher on the Cleveland Indians, who got hit directly in the head by a line drive from Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez a few months ago (http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/news/story?id=5232792). Luckily, Mr. Huff was not seriously injured from this. However, many children are not as lucky and sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) each year. Current estimates indicate that approximately 180 out of 100,000 children will attain a TBI during their lifetimes.
Causes of Brain Injuries in Children:
The causes of brain injury in children and adolescents are variable. The majority of brain injuries are caused by vehicular accidents. It has been estimated that close to 80% of all brain related injuries are directly attributable to either a car or bicycle related accident. As one might expect, the causes of brain injuries vary by age. Young children are more likely to sustain a TBI from falls, elementary age children are more likely to attain one from a sports related injury, and adolescents are more likely to attain them from vehicle accidents. Brain injury is an important topic that needs to be addressed. It is the leading cause of death amongst children and adolescents.
Side Effects of Brain Injuries:
Although the majority of children who sustain a TBI do live, there are often lasting, life-long side effects from the injuries. These life-long side effects are variable and are dependent upon where the actual brain injury occurred. It is strongly recommended that anyone who sustains a brain injury partake in a neuropsychological evaluation shortly after the injury and then also a year out. This way one would be able to attain a baseline measurement of the child’s functioning in the various domains assessed by a neuropsychological evaluation (cognitive ability, academic achievement, visual-motor functioning, attention, executive functioning, memory, language functioning, and social/emotional functioning).
There is a great need for more research and pressure from governing bodies to develop ways to either reduce the number of brain injuries in children and adolescents, or at least efforts toward decreasing the severity of the injuries.