Even Mild Childhood Brain Injuries Tied to Long-term Problems

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brain injuryChildren who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), even mild ones, may suffer from long-term behavioral and cognitive impairments, according to a recent study. Researchers also found that home environment can contribute to the level of impairment.

The study, published on February 22 in the journal JAMA, compared a total of 58 children who had experienced a TBI to 72 children who had sustained an orthopedic injury. The research team followed the children at home, school, and in hospital in locations in the Midwest during the initial period of the study between January 2003 and October 2006, and for follow-up evaluations between January 2010 and April 2015.

Study findings indicate that children with a mild, complicated TBI were more than twice as likely to have impairments in their academic performance compared to children with orthopedic injuries and were also more likely to have impairments in thinking. (The children were evaluated using the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment Scale (CAFAS).)

Additional factors affect TBI outcomes, according to study

The study also found that additional factors, such as parenting style had an impact on the long-term outcomes of children suffering TBIs. Children who were raised in household with permissive parenting scored 49.71 on the CAFAS scale among those with severe injuries, 35.75 among those with moderate injuries, and 58.14 among those with complicated mild injuries. In contrast, children with orthopedic injuries scored on average 16.16. In households where an authoritarian parenting style was in evidence, children with severe TBIs scored 56.45, moderate injuries scored 41.80, and 54.90 for complicated mild injuries, compared to 17.12 for orthopedic injuries.

The study also found having fewer home resources affected the outcome of children: 69.57 for severe injuries, 47.45 for moderate injuries, and 49 for complicated mild injuries. Among those with orthopedic injuries, the score was 23.81.

Authors of the study note that “Children with relatively mild early TBI experience long term functional impairments, particularly in the context of less favorable home environments.” They add that “Improving parenting skills and quality of home environment may promote functional recovery following early TBI.

Childhood brain injuries

The JAMA study is the most recent addition to a growing body of scholarly literature highlighting the long-term effects of TBIs in children. These include studies that suggest that children who suffer TBIs are more likely to experience depression and ADHD in the long run. Such studies suggest that children who have suffered TBIs may need more financial resources to address related conditions on a long term basis, such as additional therapies or other medical treatment, than had previously been recognized.

If a childhood brain injury is caused by another party’s negligence, financial compensation may be available through filing a personal injury lawsuit. Teachers, caregivers, or individuals otherwise responsible for supervising childcare or children’s activities may be liable for such negligence.Litigation can help injured parties and their families recover funds for medical expenses, emotional trauma, long-term care, lost earning potential, and other losses or expenses.

To speak with a New Jersey personal injury lawyer at Eisbrouch Marsh about your child’s brain injury, please call 201-342-5545. Protect your rights and explore your legal options during a free consultation.


  1. JAMA Pediatrics, Social Environmental Moderators of Long-term Functional Outcomes of Early Childhood Brain Injury http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2492707
  2. HNGN, Children who have experienced traumatic brain injuries 4 times more likely to be depressed http://www.hngn.com/articles/15911/20131026/children-who-have-experienced-traumatic-brain-injuries-4-times-more-likely-to-be-depressed.htm
  3. Pediatrics, Pediatric Brain Trauma Injury and Attention Deficit http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2015/07/28/peds.2015-0437?variant=abstract&sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token