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Columbia, SC Law Firm Comments on Pediatric Brain Injury Study, Child Accident Injury Risk

In light of a recent study about the effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) on children, personal injury attorney Johnny Felder of McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC said young people are often the most vulnerable victims involved in South Carolina accidents, suffering physical and mental impairments for decades afterward.

More than 500,000 children are admitted to the hospital for traumatic brain injuries each year, with recent studies showing head injury victims suffer from short- and long-term consequences ranging from diminished sleep quality and increased daytime sleepiness to cognitive, emotional and psychosocial impairments as a result (Medscape: “Kids’ Sleep Often Disturbed After Traumatic Brain Injury,” June 16).

Felder said the study provides further evidence about the far-reaching impact of brain injuries.

“A brain injury can cause a wide range of changes, including sleep disturbances,” Felder said. “A brain injury suffered early in life also can lead to disorders that become apparent later on, including an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other serious conditions. If a child is in an accident and sustains a TBI, it’s critical to evaluate the long-term impact of the injury.”

While a child can sustain a traumatic brain injury in any number of ways, car accidents are one of the top causes. They are ranked as a third leading cause of TBI among all age groups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 percent of all TBIs among all age groups are linked to car accidents. Felder’s law firm has handled TBI cases related to motor vehicle accidents.

“A child can experience head trauma in a number of different situations, such as while playing sports, falling down stairs or even as a result of violence,” said Felder. “But our firm has seen many instances in which a child suffers a serious and life-altering head injury after being involved in a car accident. In representing them, we typically look at the impact, such as a child’s sleep disturbances. This could have a significant effect on the child’s development.”

The recent study, conducted by University of Chicago researchers, assessed the sleeping habits of 15 children who suffered brain injuries and 15 healthy children, according to Medscape. Most children involved in the study were hospitalized for more than one week and required rehabilitation.

According to the article, researchers found brain injury victims suffer significant increases in daytime sleepiness, poorer sleep quality and poorer functional status on the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory, which measures physical, emotional, social and school functioning as well as psychosocial health.