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ADHD Linked to Traumatic Brain Injury Severity in Kids — Insight From TBI Attorneys

ADHD Linked To Traumatic Brain Injury Severity In Kids — Insight From TBI Attorneys

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) has become a recent health crisis in the United States. A TBI can change everything about a victim’s life — especially if they’re a child, given their brain is still developing. People used to assume that a child with a brain injury would recover better than an adult because there was more “plasticity” in a younger brain. However, recent research has shown that this is not only not the case, but actually much worse. A brain injury actually has a more devastating impact on a child than an injury of the same severity on a mature adult.

Most TBI victims are usually forced to radically alter life plans, give up their independence, and often become cut off from enjoying life’s pleasures. And while the symptoms of a brain injury in children are similar to those experienced by adults, the functional impact can be very different. Moreover, the cognitive impairments of children with brain injury may not be immediately obvious after the injury, but may become apparent as the child gets older.

To make matters more grave, the greatest challenges many children with brain injury face are changes in their abilities to think, learn, and develop socially appropriate behaviors. New research is showing that some conditions make children more vulnerable to others. Our expert legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers will go into more depth over this new development and pediatric TBI in the following sections.

TBI and Children

Pedestrian Deaths in Los Angeles

Brain injury is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adults in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 227,000 TBI-related hospitalizations occurred in 2016. Children who were 0 to 17 years old accounted for 8.6 percent of these visits. In 2017, the amount of patients for TBI decreased to 224,000. About 7.8 percent of these admissions were from children.

There were 60,000 deaths reported in 2016, which increased to 61,000 in 2017. Children who were 0 to 17 years old accounted for 4.5 percent of TBI-related deaths in both years.

Several factors can contribute to a TBI. This includes the following.

  • Unintentional falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Unintentionally bashed by or against an object
  • Assault
  • Purposely inflicting self-harm

Children were mostly being admitted to the hospital for a TBI after having a serious fall or getting involved in a motor vehicle collision.

The nature of the injury and its consequences can range from mild to severe, and the course of recovery is very difficult to predict for any given child. Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the extent and location of the brain injury.

The Study Associating Pediatric TBI to ADHD

A recent review and meta-analysis reportedly showed that traumatic brain injury was connected to post-injury attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. The research showed that the odds for ADHD after experiencing a severe TBI were higher for both ADHD onset within one year and diagnosis more than one year later compared to children with other injuries.

Among 24 studies conducted, it was found that severe traumatic brain injuries made it more susceptible for children to have ADHD, compared to non-injured children and children with other types of injuries. However, there was no relationship between ADHD, concussions, and mild or moderate TBI.

Robert Asarnow, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles and his co-authors have stated that ADHD itself can become a risk factor for pediatric TBI. He further noted that due to the high rate of pre-injury ADHD in children with TBI, clinicians should take a look into pre-TBI functioning prior to starting treatment.

“Across TBI injury severity, the rate of pre-injury ADHD diagnoses was 16.0 percent, which is significantly greater than the general pediatric population base rate of 10.8 percent in the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey,” Asarnow and his colleagues reportedly wrote. “This result underscores the importance of controlling for pre-injury ADHD in studies attempting to determine the association between TBI and ADHD.”

The research focused on three time points, which were before the injury, a year or less after the injury, and more than one year after the injury. These studies were conducted from 1981 to 2020. The children involved in the research were between the ages of 4 to 18 years old. Majority of these children were boys who accounted for 62 percent of the TBI group, 61 percent of non-injured controls, and 66 percent of children who had other injuries.

Within these groups, about 5,920 children had severe TBI. 18.8 percent of those who had a critical TBI were diagnosed with ADHD within one year, while 35.5 percent had the diagnosis more than a year later. Even though the rate of pre-injury ADHD was more for children who had a TBI than in the general population, it was not as different as the rate in children who had other injuries.

“These results are consistent with evidence that ADHD is a risk factor not only for TBI, but for injury more generally,” the editorialists reportedly wrote. “An interesting issue for future study with practical implications for prevention is whether an increased risk of injury for children with ADHD arises because of heightened impulsivity or inattention or both.”

The researchers stated that the 95 percent credible intervals should be considered when looking into the post-injury ADHD rates. “There may be some patients with mild TBI who present with severe ADHD symptoms and diagnoses, and some patients with severe TBI may not have ADHD symptoms and diagnoses,” they added.

Available Damages in a TBI Claim

Traumatic brain injuries change everything about a victim’s life. Most victims are usually forced to radically alter life plans, give up their independence, and often become cut off from enjoying life’s pleasures.

In addition, victims may need multiple surgeries, regular physical therapy, or round-the-clock care. Sadly, many victims’ families may not have the necessary financial resources to adequately provide for their loved ones’ medical needs.

And though brain injury settlements vary and will depend on the specific circumstances, some of the damages TBI victims are entitled to receive include:

  • Lost Wages
  • Humiliation
  • Property Loss
  • Medical Bills
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Past and Future Medical Expenses
  • Loss of Past and Future Income

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

An expert brain injury attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered after a TBI, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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