Christopher Nowinski on the Nuances of Brain Injury in Children
Research shows that brain injury in children is far worse than in adults — with longer recovery time and greater future risk. New rules and awareness are helping but there's more work to be done.
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What I understand from the top researchers is that brain injury in children is far worse than it is in adults. It's hard to appreciate that in watching them, because children are learning so fast, and developing so many new skills, that you can't tell that they just went from going like this to going like this, and they may not actually catch up in the way they learn. It appears that the younger you are, the longer you take to recover, then the more risk you have of permanent deficits. The changes and awareness and guidelines are really night and day. What has really driven that home has been the laws passed now in over 30 states that are mandating education for many levels of coaches, and often parents and athletes as well, and they all need the education, and also requiring trips to the doctor— and then that combined with the media exposure on this that opened up a lot of people's eyes, and then now the major sports organizations, people like the NFL and the NHL, talking about concussions more seriously is helping set the standard that everyone now is— before, you were the anomaly if you held your kid out for a couple of weeks with a concussion and took it seriously. Now people, rightly so, think you're doing the wrong thing if you put your kid back in.
Posted on BrainLine September 20, 2012.
Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine, and Dan Edblom.
Chris Nowinski is a co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine and the co-founder and CEO of the Sports Legacy Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to solve the sports concussion crisis.