Pediatric Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the most common cause of death and disability in children. It is estimated that 475,000 children between the ages of zero to 14 sustain a TBI every year. The most common mechanisms for brain injuries in youth are:

  • Falls
  • Abusive injuries
  • Concussions
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Bicycle-related incidents
  • ATV/UTV-related accidents

While this might sound scary, and maybe even unavoidable, there are ways to minimize and even prevent brain injuries.

  • Use proper restraints in motor vehicles
  • Always wear a bicycle helmet when riding a bike, scooter, roller blades/skates, etc.
  • Educate all caregivers about non-accidental head trauma (i.e., shaken baby syndrome), as children younger than 4 years have a higher death rate than those 5-14 due to Accidental Head Trauma (AHT). Approximately 30 of every 100,000 infants less than 1 year of age are hospitalized for AHT.
  • Use of helmets when using ATV’s or UTV’s, follow age recommendations for driving, and supervision during use by children/adolescents.

The good news is that the majority of TBI’s are mild (90%), which includes concussions. 37,000 annually are hospitalized (7.8%) for TBI and these injuries vary greatly, depending on the severity, type of injury, and area of the brain impacted. Optimal care for a pediatric TBI patient includes a multi-disciplinary approach from clinicians that specialize in pediatric care and long-term follow-up is essential to ensure that the child continues to achieve optimal outcomes as they move through educational services, into adulthood, and vocational pursuits.

LifeScape has the only pediatric rehabilitation program in the state of South Dakota, and has 10 staff, across seven different specialties, that are certified brain injury specialists (CBIS), including six pediatric therapists, all working under our Medical Director, physiatrist Dr. Julie Johnson. Dr. Johnson has over 20 years experience specializing in pediatric rehabilitation. Our intensive, inpatient brain injury program includes 24-hour medical care, intensive daily therapies, and clinicians with specialized training in assistive technology and mobility to ensure the highest level of independence, when discharged. Outpatient rehabilitative therapies are available at our outpatient locations in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Sioux City. Physiatry services are available at both Sioux Falls and Rapid City locations. For continued follow-up care, orthotics, prosthetics, and durable medical equipment services Rise Custom Solutions is available in all three locations.