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How to prevent traumatic brain injury in children and teenagers?

child-playingChildren and teenagers are prone to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Over a million of them check in an emergency room in the US for a non fatal Traumatic Brain Injury every year. A recent study conducted by researchers under the lead of Bina Ali for the nonprofit Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation  looked at the causes of these injuries.  To do so the researchers used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. They  found that between 2010 and 2013 more than 4 million children were diagnosed by emergency room doctors for non fatal TBI.

Among the different categories of ages, those the most prone to suffer TBI were among the youngest and among the oldest. 1,085,680 children between the age of 1 and 4  and 1,107,463 teenagers between 15 and 19 year old were diagnosed with TBI during the period under review.

The causes of  TBI vary depending on the age of the child. Almost 3 quarters of TBIs suffered by  toddlers were related to home fixtures, furniture and structures.  Falling from chairs and beds were the most common furniture related accidents while tripping on the floor or falling down the stairs caused the most TBIs related to home fixtures and structures.

Sports and recreation account for more traumatic brain injuries as children grow up: they account for more than 30% of TBI for the 5 to 9 year old, for more than 50% for the 10 to 14 year old and for a little less than 40% for the 15 to 19 year old.

American Football continues being the highest cause of traumatic brain injuries for all children aged 10 to 19 year old followed by Basketball. Traumatic Brain Injuries sustained while practicing football are often the most severe and the most debilitating. Parents should not only make sure that children wear proper protective equipment but should also meet with the coach and make sure that he has training in injury prevention and that there is a culture of safety prevailing among the staff.

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