A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. More than three million concussions occur each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Emergency departments treat approximately 135,000 sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, among children ages five to 18.
It is important to give special consideration to a child's brain, as it is continuing to undergo development until age 25. Recent research has revealed that once a person has had a concussion, he or she is three times more likely to have another one. Children and adolescents are the most at risk because the likelihood that a child experiences such an injury may be as high as one in five.
Currently, the Center for BrainHealth is part of a multi-site research project funded by the National Institutes of Health investigating recovery from long-term pediatric traumatic brain injury. Click here to learn more about the research.
Center for BrainHealth scientists are also looking at short-term and long-term effects of concussions and traumatic brain injuries in professional athletes. Click here to learn more.
About Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an individual sustains harm to the head and internal brain damage results. The damage may be restricted to a small area of the brain, or may be more serious and involve more comprehensive damage. Depending on the size and location of the injury, cognitive deficits and behavioral issues often emerge. TBI is a common consequence from accidents, such as motor vehicle collisions, and is the most common cause of death in children in the United States.
Brain injuries are classified in terms of mild, moderate, and severe based on the extent of damage. Symptoms vary by type of injury and by individual, but many common symptoms occur, such as:
More long-term effects can emerge, including:
Periodic evaluation of physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and language skills is important following a TBI to determine what problems a patient is experiencing. Though progress is often expected in these areas during recovery, focusing on specific areas of concern can speed recovery and aid the patient in compensating for deficits.