/ Blog/ Concussions: The Hidden Danger to Young Children’s Growing Minds
Concussion awareness has been growing in recent years as research has drawn stronger conclusions about the short- and long-term risks of traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially among athletes. Some of the risks have gotten a great deal of attention, including a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease that results in memory loss, impulse control problems, changes in behavior, and dementia. CTE is most often diagnosed in professional athletes, such as football players, who have suffered many concussions or other traumatic brain injuries over a period of time.
But new research suggests that head injuries and concussions may also lead to problems in even the smallest children, and parents are cautioned to be alert after any suspected head injury.
Researchers affiliated with the University of Montreal have discovered that many young children (ages five and under) may also suffer concussions. Their data suggest that up to 2 percent of young children experience a concussion in a given year, in part because the bones of their skulls are still growing and are too thin and soft to protect the brain from an unexpected blow.
The Montreal researchers caution that because children of this age are rapidly developing important foundations for language, social, emotional, and other skills, parents should be alert to any changes in behavior after a child suffers a head trauma. They note specifically that when a child experiences a concussion but there are no outward signs, a problem might be indicated when there is a noticeable drop in the quantity and quality of interaction with parents. If a child suddenly interacts much less, or behaves in a different way, it’s a good idea to bring it to the attention of the family physician.
The research and the anxieties about very small children and concussions are new, but concerns about brain injuries in older children have already been on the radar in Indiana for some time. In 2014, Indiana became the first state to require both that all high school coaches receive concussion training, and that players who suffer a head injury wait twenty-four hours before returning to play or practice their sport. Starting in July of 2017, a new law will require that all coaches of students in grades five and up receive training in the dangers of concussions and how to recognize their symptoms.
This will be an important step in protecting all student athletes from the dangers of traumatic brain injury. More than 2,000 Indiana student athletes receive concussions each year. Identifying injured athletes more effectively and keeping them from being injured again before they can heal is an important goal.
Concussions and other head injuries need to be taken seriously at all times, even though the injury is not always obvious. If you suspect that someone close to you has suffered a TBI, that person should be evaluated by someone trained to recognize the effects. When a potential injury is discovered, treatment should be sought as soon as possible. This is also a good time to consult with an experienced attorney to understand if there are legal avenues open to you to recover the cost of treating an injury and any additional expenses left in its wake.
Injuries—even brain injuries—can happen in sports and everyday activities. Sometimes these injuries are simply accidents, and nothing could have been done to prevent them. But many times these injuries are the result of negligence or a reckless disregard for the safety of others. This can be true even in a situation that is otherwise considered safe or properly supervised, such as school activities or youth sports.
The attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham understand brain injury law. Get in touch with us, and we’ll make time to give you a free consultation to discuss your case. You can call us at 317-920-6400 or fill out our online form to have someone contact you at your convenience.
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