The Hidden Cost of Childhood Head Injuries

New research from Brigham Young University is shining a light on the hidden long-term impact of childhood head injuries. The results of the research: children who suffer head trauma have smaller social circles and fewer close friends.

Researchers found that a combination of a poorer working memory and slower processing speed means that victims of brain injury are less able to appropriately read social situations, even years after their injury, and therefore find themselves more socially isolated.

Shawn Gale, the lead researcher on the project notes, “The thing that’s hardest about brain injury is that someone can have significant difficulties but they still look okay, but they have a harder time remembering things and focusing on things as well and that affects the way they interact with other people. Since they look fine, people don’t cut them as much slack as they ought to.”

Brain injuries hurt a child’s cognitive proficiency: the combination of working memory and processing speed. The full impact of these injuries may not be revealed for years.  Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon lawyers and other advocates to take account of these long-term consequences which continue to impact the quality of life of brain injury survivors years after the injury.

This research shows that dealing with brain injuries is challenging for victims, family members, lawyers and rehabilitation professionals because the true impacts are hidden from view. Unlike many other injuries where the damage and resulting deficits are more physical in nature, brain injury victims are often blamed for being short-tempered, moody and forgetful. These common symptoms can significantly reduce the quality of life for survivors, but is often difficult to quantify. Research, such as this study, should help plaintiffs and their lawyers explain what injured victims and their families already know: a brain injury can affect every aspect of the victim and their family`s life.

For more information on this study or to discuss how to utilize this research when presenting claims on behalf of brain injured victims please contact D. Joel Dick at 416-572-3516 or through email or Michael J. Henry at 416-361-0889, email at

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