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Children May Suffer Long-Term Effects from Even Mild TBI

Even mild brain trauma may leave a life-long impact on a child. According to a study published earlier this year in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, the effects may impact learning and behavior longer than was originally understood.

Study followed children with TBIs for a decade

The JAMA study was published in late February after researchers from Ohio and Canada spent nearly a decade studying kids throughout the American Midwest. The children they followed enrolled in the study between January 2003 and October 2006, and the researchers completed their follow-ups from January 2010 to April 2015. The 130 participating children were studied in their homes, schools, and hospitals.

Of the participating children, just under half – 58 – had suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The remaining children – 72 – had undergone a broken bone or other orthopedic injury. The study compared the two groups to determine how a TBI affected behavioral and academic outcome.

Mild TBIs leave lasting impression

It does not take a severe TBI to make a serious impact on a child’s development. The researchers found that even with a mild TBI, children were twice as likely as the orthopedic injury group to suffer impairments in school. The researchers found more noticeable functional injuries among children with TBI who came from three types of home settings:

  • Permissive parenting
  • Authoritarian parenting
  • Few home resources

The significant long-term effects of even a mild TBI on a developing child underscores the need to protect young people from any type of head injury. It also indicates that in a healthy parenting environment, children may functionally recover from an early brain injury.

Litigating brain injuries in children

There is no everyday brain injury; they can arise in any context from recreation like sports to daily activities like driving to school, to slip and fall accidents or playground injuries. TBIs range in severity from the relatively mild concussion to serious physical trauma. The recent research provides a lesson in the long-term impact of even the seemingly minor injuries.

When a child suffers a head injury, there may be a party at fault whose negligence contributed to it. Some common examples are parties who own or are responsible for the location where the injury occurred or were responsible for looking after the child. These can include:

  • Daycare supervisors
  • Schools
  • Operators or maintainers of playground equipment
  • Youth sports leagues
  • Other property owners or managers

Establishing negligence in this type of case generally requires showing that:

  • The defendant had a duty to be careful toward the child
  • The defendant breached the duty of care
  • The child suffered an injury or other loss that is recognized by the law
  • The defendant’s breach cause the child’s injuries

Proving these elements often requires both experienced legal eyes and expert medical consultation.

If you are the parent or guardian of a child who has suffered a head injury and you suspect someone else is at fault, the Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at the Salamati Law Firm will help you understand your rights. For a free case evaluation, call 888-259-4060.


  1. JAMA Pediatrics, Social Environment Moderators of Long-term Functional Outcomes of Early Childhood Brain Injury, http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2492707
  2. Brain Injury Association of America, Brain Injury in Children, http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-children.htm
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