Pediatric Brain Injury Program



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Pediatrics Child Stepping with Nurse Photo

Since 1989, the Pediatric Brain Injury Program has provided specialty care to more than 4,000 children and adolescents with traumatic and other acquired brain injuries. Inquiries to this program should be directed to 612-873-2259.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when impact to the head or body causes the brain to be injured inside the skull. Many TBIs are mild, involving a disruption in normal functioning and a brief period of altered consciousness (disorientation, confusion, inability to follow simple commands) or a brief loss of consciousness. A mild TBI is also known as a concussion. A more severe injury (moderate to severe TBI) may involve a prolonged loss of consciousness or coma, bleeding in the brain, and nerve cell damage. Recovery from a severe TBI can be lengthy and patients may or may not return to their previous level of functioning.

The Pediatric Brain Injury Program's continuum of care provides for ongoing services for children admitted to HCMC’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center with a diagnosis of acquired brain injury, which includes traumatic brain injury, stroke, anoxic brain injury and abusive head trauma. Severity ranges from a minor injury, which may involve only a short overnight stay, to the severely injured who may require a lengthy stay in critical care for many weeks with intensive rehabilitation therapy services. Other patients are referred to the program as outpatients by a primary care provider or by family, either shortly after an injury or even years later. We evaluate and treat children from birth through age 18.


The goals of the Pediatric Brain Injury Program are to help each child overcome physical, intellectual and emotional challenges reaching his or her maximum potential and to provide family education and support along the way.

Children with brain injuries have needs that can be very different from those of adults with brain injuries, which is why these patients are treated by staff trained specifically to work with pediatric patients. The Pediatric Brain Injury Program uses a coordinated, team-based approach which begins when they are admitted into the program.

Hennepin County Medical Center admits more children with traumatic brain injuries than any other hospital in the state. In 2015 alone, more than 200 pediatric patients were admitted for a brain injury. Patients from all over the state and beyond receive exceptional care including state-of-the-art medical and rehabilitative services from staff specially trained to treat pediatric patients.

Brain injuries, whether mild, moderate or severe, can be devastating to a family. That is why we work hard to treat, educate and comfort children and their families during this difficult time. Members of our program continue to create updated materials to help educate parents about their child’s brain injury and how best to help them. Educating schools is also important, as brain injuries often have a significant impact on a child’s academic performance. Helping a school understand the injury and how the student’s needs may be different is another important part of our program. Return to Learn is not just helpful; it is a necessary aspect of recovery.

The Pediatric Brain Injury Program also provides outreach education to professionals including schools and conferences. Please contact the program coordinator for more information.