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Report: More children suffering brain injuries on playgrounds

For many Delaware children, school will end either this month or next. Consequently, playgrounds are likely to see an upswing in attendance as both children and their parents take advantage of the warmer weather and time off from school. However, a recent report indicates that playgrounds may be an increasingly likely location for children to suffer not only scrapes and bruises but also brain injuries.

Many people assume brain injuries, including traumatic brain injury, can only be cause by car accidents or contact sports. A head injury, though, can happen almost anywhere, including on a local playground. According to researchers from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, injury rates from 2005 to 2013 showed an increase in the number of traumatic brain injuries suffered by children younger than 14.

The research, which was published in the Pediatrics Medical Journal, showed that just over half of the children who suffered injuries were between the ages of five and nine. Most of the TBIs suffered on playgrounds were related to monkey bar use or swings, the study noted. Fortunately, most of the children who went to an emergency room after a TBI did not require long-term care afterwards.

Researchers theorize that the rise in playground-related TBI may be attributable to more time being spent by kids on playgrounds and heightened awareness of the dangers of brain injuries. The authors mention that it may be possible that, nowadays, parents' increased awareness of the possibility of TBI may lead them to seek out medical care when, in the past, they might not have. Symptoms of a serious head injury include loss of consciousness, lethargy, vomiting or a change in the child's behavior afterwards.

As this recent research helps demonstrate, seeking help for TBI immediately after an accident may make an important difference in later outcomes. With brain injuries, the long-term consequences may not be immediately apparent, so people may wait to seek medical attention. This may not be ideal, though, since immediate treatment can either rule out a brain injury or begin treating it efficiently. Those who have suffered head injuries due to another's negligence may want to speak to a personal injury attorney regarding compensation for medical expenses.

Source: ABC News, "More children are suffering traumatic brain injuries at the playground," Gillian Mohney, May 2, 2016

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