“And we have a player shaken up on the field.”
This was once a common phrase I would hear announcers say while watching a football game on TV. Little did I know that the athlete had actually sustained a concussion due to a head injury. I did not see the greater problem until I began working with youth in sports and began to understand the impact of an injury to the head. The current term for such injuries is a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI.
The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report to U.S. Congress on the management of TBI in children, and some of the data is alarming. The report states that in 2013, 640,000 TBI-related emergency room visits were made. The major causes for the visits of children below 14 years old include falls and being struck by an object, like a ball, or being struck against an object, like a tree or fence.
One study mentioned in the report found that more than 61 percent of children with moderate to severe TBI experience a disability. These disabilities come in a range of impairments that may affect their cognitive function, motor skills, and/or may cause behavioral issues.
Children with TBI may be in need of special services when they return to school after an injury. These services and supports typically come from providers such as the Early Intervention Program or Special Education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or through accommodations through a Section 504 Plan under the Rehabilitation Act. These services are individualized to fit the learning needs of specific child. The student may need modifications or accommodations like rest breaks, more time to complete assignments or take tests, and/or help with schoolwork. Modifications and accommodations are put in place in order to give children opportunities to succeed in their education.
To read the full report, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov.
For more information about educational services available through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, contact NMPASI at 235-7273 or visit us online at nmpasi.org.
Greg Borja is a projects specialist with the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.