Nothing causes disability and death in young people more than traumatic brain injuries. Those from 0-19 are the highest risk group in the country when looking at TBIs. Every year, the stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 62,000 children end up in the hospital with brain injuries, while another 564,000 go to the emergency room and then are released. These head injuries come from playing sports, being involved in car accidents, being abused or attacked, falling down, and more.
Now that you know just how much of a danger this is, with thousands of children being injured every month, it’s time to look at three huge ways a TBI can impact a child’s life, even when he or she survives the incident.
1. Emotional issues
Many children deal with mood swings and other emotional issues. These can be tied to the trauma of being hurt or to the injury itself. Some children become anxious and depressed, others battle self-esteem issues or even become self-centered, and still others lose all motivation and drive. This change can be hard on the family, too, as family members may feel like they barely know the child anymore. The individual’s personality can be completely altered, and these changes can last for life.
2. Physical issues
Physical disabilities are common after traumatic brain injuries. These can include problems with the major senses, such as issues hearing, seeing and speaking. They could also include a reduction in motor skills. Some children become fatigued far more easily when doing simple tasks, and others have issues with balance or headaches. In the most drastic cases, children can be temporarily or permanently paralyzed as a result of the injury. Even with rehab, the paralysis may never entirely go away. Children can be bound to wheelchairs and need life-long care.
3. Cognitive issues
Brain injuries have a wide range of cognitive impacts, depending on the severity and the part of the brain that was hurt. Examples include trouble reading, trouble focusing on tasks, and issues with short-term and long-term memory. Someone who has been injured may struggle to find the right words, to express himself or herself, or simply to think at a “normal” rate. Some children have trouble with tasks that were once easy for them, like writing or planning ahead. A child’s attention span could shrink notably and concentration could be impaired.
These are not all of the issues that can be seen after a TBI. As noted, the location and severity of the injury can make a huge difference, as can post-injury issues like swelling on the brain. However, these examples do help to show just how drastic the changes can be for a child and how they may last forever. If you are the parent of a child who was injured in this way, you must know what rights you have to compensation, especially when that child’s quality of life has deteriorated and life-long care is needed.