CDC Issues New Guidelines for Pediatric Concussions

James F. Humphreys & Associates, L.C. represents people who have suffered brain injuries because of the negligence of others. The owner and founder of the firm, James F. Humphreys, is a former chairman of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) and is general counsel to the West Virginia Brain Injury Association, Inc. (WVBIA).

Every year, more than 800,000 children go to emergency rooms for treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), also known as concussion, but until recently there was no evidence-based guideline for mild cases of pediatric TBI (mTBI) inclusive of all causes. In September 2018, however, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the CDC Guideline on the Diagnosis and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Among Children, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics 2018; 172(11). 

This Guideline consists of 19 sets of clinical recommendations for the diagnosis, prognosis, management, and treatment of mTBI in inpatient, emergency, primary, and outpatient settings. It was developed after an extensive review of 25 years of scientific research by the Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Guideline Workgroup. Each recommendation is assigned a level of obligation (such as must, should, or may) based on the degree of confidence in the evidence.

According to the CDC website, five of the key recommendations include:

  1. Do not routinely image pediatric patients to diagnose mTBI.
  2. Use validated, age-appropriate symptom scales to diagnose mTBI.
  3. Assess for risk factors for prolonged recovery, including a history of mTBI or other brain injuries, severe symptom presentation immediately after the injury, and personal characteristics and family history (such as learning difficulties and family and social stressors).
  4. Provide patients and their parents/caregivers with instructions on returning to activity customized to their symptoms.
  5. Counsel patients to return gradually to non-sports activities after no more than 2-3 days of rest.

Mild TBI among children is a growing concern, with a marked increase in emergency room visits for this condition over the last ten years. This guideline, which identifies best practices based on current evidence, should play an important part in addressing this problem.

If you or a loved one has been injured through the wrongful conduct of someone else, contact James F. Humphreys for a free initial consultation at 304-881-0652 (local) or 877-341-2595 (toll-free). You may also contact us through our website,   


CDC, “CDC Releases Guideline to Improve Care of Children with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,”

CDC, “CDC Pediatric mTBI Guideline: Take Action to Improve the Care of Children with mTBI,”

“Special Communication—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline on the Diagnosis and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Among Children,”

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