how well do children recover from traumatic brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by any number of events. Head trauma from a car accident, a concussion sustained in a fall or even a sporting accident can all cause permanent brain damage. And although brain injuries often result from physical trauma, severe and life-altering brain injury can also be caused if the flow of oxygen to the brain is interrupted.

Because the brain is a complex and vulnerable organ that can be damaged in many ways, brain injuries can impact anyone at any age. That being said, it is particularly tragic when a young person sustains a brain injury. An entire life full of promise can be altered in a moment.

Although a brain injury may be life-altering, studies suggest that children who suffer traumatic brain injuries may recover more fully than adults who suffer TBI.

One recent report followed the recovery of a Pennsylvania boy named Sam who was only 13 years old when he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Although Sam’s TBI was the result of a motocross accident, his recovery process was similar to that of many teens who suffer a brain injury, regardless of the cause.

After his accident, Sam spent days in a coma and was in critical care for nearly a month. He was then sent to a rehabilitation facility where he spent the better part of two years relearning how to talk and walk.

Three years have now passed since Sam’s accident, and he is almost back to where he was before. He still has trouble with his short-term memory, and he struggles if he receives too much information at once, but the story of his recovery is inspiring, nonetheless.

Research has indicated that children have a greater ability to recover from severe brain injuries than adults because their brains are still developing. However, a new study shows that children who suffer from brain injuries may still end up with lasting deficits.

Many children who suffer mild TBI recover completely, but the prognosis is not as good for children who suffer more severe injuries. Although children may recover and improve over a period of years, most eventually reach a point where their progress stabilizes.

Read more in our next post to learn more about treating children who suffer from traumatic brain injuries.

Source: Vitals on msnbc.com, “Kids’ brain injuries can cause lingering problems for years, study finds,” Linda Carroll, Jan. 23, 2012

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