Little Brains – Big Future: The Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury in Young Children

November 9, 2016

Presenter: Ashley Graves, M.Ed., Project Development Specialist, Center for Schools and Communities

Session Description: In this session, participants will learn about the mechanism of injury, signs and symptoms, and the impact of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the developing brain. Each year over a half a million children under the age of fourteen visit the emergency department for a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Among children ages 0 to 14, it has been estimated that each year, approximately 2,600 deaths and 37,000 hospitalizations occur as a result of TBI. While the symptoms of a brain injury in children are similar to the symptoms experienced by adults, the functional impact can be very different. The brain of a child is continuing to develop. The assumption used to be a child with a brain injury would recover better than an adult because there was more “plasticity” in a younger brain.  More recent research has shown that this is not the case. A brain injury actually has a more devastating impact on a child than an injury of the same severity has on a mature adult. Children are active and falls are the most common mechanism of injury. Deciding whether a child who has hit his or her head needs an immediate concussion assessment can be difficult. Young children may have the same concussion symptoms as older children, but they do not express them in the same way.  Learning how to prevent concussions and when to seek treatment can have a lasting impact on a family.

Transcript Little Brains – Big Futures (PDF)