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Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention

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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, injuries are the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the U.S.  In 2016, Summit County had 24,609 pediatric injuries; with falls and struck by/struck against as the top two causes. Sports and recreation injuries account for 17% of total injuries. One type of serious injury is a concussion; a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. The injury can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. Brain injury is one of the leading sports-related injuries resulting in the death of children. One in four concussions are sports related, and high school athletes who sustain a concussion are three times more likely to sustain a second concussion.

Read more concussion facts.

This work is funded either in whole or in part by a grant awarded by the Ohio Department of Health as a sub-award of a grant issued by Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant under the Injury Prevention Program by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, grant award number 1 NB01OT009358-01-00

Kids of all ages are at risk for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs).

TBIs keep kids from being kids – like going to school, playing in the big game or with their friends, dancing at a recital, or in the rain. At Akron Children’s, we’re committed to preventing TBIs through education, policy and community engagement, and we’re dedicated to finding the most effective TBI treatments through research and innovation.

TBIs can occur from unintentional falls, sports-related injuries, suffocation or strangulation due to unsafe sleep or pedestrian and wheeled sport injuries. A TBI changes how the brain normally functions. Akron Children’s Unintentional Child/Youth Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention program is implementing strategies to prevent TBI injuries among area kids.

Guided by Safe Kids Summit County (SKSC), these prevention strategies were developed using child injury data and surveillance to identify trends and area at high risk for injury. They include:

  • Identifying trends and high-risk areas in need of injury prevention programs for children age 0-18.
  • Adopting bike helmet policies in Summit County schools, and teaching community members how to properly fit a bike helmet.
  • Expanding a social marketing campaign to increase TBI awareness.
  • Promoting the Ohio Concussion Return to Learn Team Model program in Summit County schools, which helps prevent concussions by raising awareness of concussion signs and symptoms, and providing guidance on how to return to school safely.
  • Coordinating back-to-school transition efforts by encouraging collaboration among parents, caregivers, kids, teens, health care providers and school personnel.
  • Ensuring consistent TBI prevention messaging across the state of Ohio by co-chairing the statewide Child Injury Action Group’s TBI Committee.

For more information contact Sherry Blair:


How can I spot a possible concussion?

Symptoms can worsen with physical and mental activity.

If you suspect a concussion, call 330-543-HEAD(4323) to make an appointment to have your child evaluated.

Signs observed by others

  • Dazed/stunned appearance
  • Personality/behavioral changes
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness-even brief
  • Clumsiness
  • Forgets plays or assignments
  • Seems "out of it"
  • Forgets events prior to/after a hit
  • Slow response to questions or repeatedly asks questions

Symptoms reported by children and teens

  • Headache or "pressure" in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double, blurry or changed vision
  • Bothered by light or noise
  • Excess fatigue/drowsiness
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Trouble comprehending, concentrating or paying attention
  • Irritability, nervousness, feeling emotional or sad
  • Feeling "just not right" or "in a fog"

When to go to the Emergency Room:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headaches that worsen
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Unequal pupils
  • Neck pain
  • Confusion
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Behavior change

How can I help keep my children or teens safe?

Sports are a great way for children and teens to stay healthy and can help them do well in school. To help lower your children’s or teens’ chances of getting a concussion or other serious brain injury, you should:

  • Help create a culture of safety for the team by working with the coach to teach ways to lower the chances of getting a concussion.
  • When appropriate for the sport or the activity, teach your children or teens that they must wear a properly fitted, safety approved helmet to lower the chances of the most serious types of brain or head injury. There is no "concussion-proof" helmet, but it may help lessen injury. Even with a helmet, it is important for children and teens to avoid hits to the head.