Recovery From Childhood Traumatic Brain Injury Plateaus After Two Years

Teenager in Wheelchair Holding a Football

A recent study found that children who suffer a brain injury of any severity will not show any improvement beyond two years after the injury. The study looked at children who had a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury, and were age 0-17 at the time of injury. Their functional outcome was tracked over 36 months after the injury.

Most of the functional improvement occurred within the first year after the injury, and some improvement was noted between 12 and 24 months after the injury. But between 24 and 36 months, nearly no improvement was recorded. One potential reason for this lack of improvement is inadequate services for children beyond the first two years of recovery. Both parents and clinicians may be unaware of the continuing need for services, but children's needs and abilities change as they hit developmental milestones and continue to require adaptive and cognitive skills training as they grow.

Rivara FP, Vavilala MS, Durbin D, et al. Persistence of disability 24 to 36 months after pediatric traumatic brain injury: A cohort study. Journal of Neurotrauma. (October 2012).