Five Myths About Traumatic Brain Injury in Children

Brain Injury In Children Category brain injury

By Marilyn Lash

Despite the fact that traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability in children and youth, many myths persist about its treatment and recovery. Incorrect information is the basis of stereotypes and false assumptions. This article corrects 5 common myths or misunderstandings about it.

Myth 1: All brain injuries are alike.

The fact is that each brain injury is different. Damage may be caused by direct impact to the brain but it can also be caused by swelling and bruising of brain tissue, shearing and tearing of nerve fibers, loss of oxygen, or blood clots.

Myth 2: Physical recovery means that the brain has healed.

The fact is that cognitive recovery of thinking and reasoning skills is very different from physical recovery. A child may have a good physical recovery but still have significant cognitive impairments with changes in thinking and learning.

Myth 3: A brain injury heals with time.

The fact is that the exact opposite is true. The effects of an injury to a child’s brain may not be fully revealed until the injured portion of the brain develops and matures. Time reveals the latent effects of an earlier injury in children.

Myth 4: Young children recover better than older children.

The opposite is true. The younger child’s brain is less developed and is at greater risk for difficulties in the future because the critical stages of development have been interrupted by the injury.

Myth 5: Recovery is complete 6 months after the brain injury.

While recovery may be most rapid during the initial months after the injury, there is no fixed timetable for long-term recovery. Families report seeing their child progress many months and years after the injury as brain functions improve and as their child develops and matures.

Conclusion:

The bottom line is that parents know their child best. They know their child before and after the injury. They have seen their child through all stages of emergency and medical care. While professionals and programs come and go in a child’s life, with very few exceptions, parents are the constant in the child’s life.

Marilyn Lash is a founding partner of Lash and Associates leading resource on brain injury, blast injury and concussion in children and adults.


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