Brain Injuries in Children on the Rise | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

Posted by Catherine Bertram, Partner

According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result from sports and recreation activities in the U.S. each year. Of those children, approximately 165,000 require hospitalization.  As a mother with two children who are active in competitive sports it is very concerning to me.  Click here to read a letter from one of clients in the community who had a brain injury as a result of another person’s carelessness.

The most frequent causes of TBI are related to:

  • car accidents
  • falls
  • sports related injuries; and
  • abuse/assault.

It can be difficult for a parent to diagnose this type of injury as many children do not demonstrate visible impairments after a head injury. The symptoms depend on the extent and location of the brain injury and can vary greatly.

Children who suffered TBI may experience some or all of the following:

  • Physical impairments – speech, vision, hearing and other sensory impairment, headaches, lack of fine motor coordination, spasticity of muscles, paresis or paralysis of one or both sides and seizure disorders,balance, and other gait impairments.
  • Cognitive impairments – short- and long-term memory deficits, impaired concentration, slowness of thinking, and limited attention span, as well as impairments of perception, communication, reading and writing skills, planning, sequencing, and judgement.
  • Psychosocial-behavioral-emotional impairments – fatigue, mood swings, denial, self-centeredness,anxiety, depression, lowered self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, restlessness, lack of motivation, inability to self-monitor, difficulty with emotional control, inability to cope, agitation, excessive laughing or crying, and difficulty relating to others.

There is a free guideline available for parents and care providers that provides more details about what your child may experience with TBI.    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a Traumatic Brain Injury program for families that may lead you to local state based resources for assistance.

Having a child with this diagnosis is stressful both emotionally and financially for the entire family.   If you believe that your child’s injury was the result of unsafe choices or conduct of others feel free to call and discuss the situation with me.   We have experience with these types of cases and understand the legal and medical issues as well as the family struggles.    For free information about your legal rights, please email me at or call me directly at 202-833-1875.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience. She is a partner with the firm and devotes her practice to the representation of individuals and the  families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to unsafe devices or the negligence of others.  Ms. Bertram lives with her family in Washington, D.C.   She can be reached by email at or by phone 202-822-1875 in her D.C. office.