The hospitalization rate for children with an unintended severe traumatic brain injury has decreased 40 percent in a decade, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Still, these serious head injuries are extremely rare. Just slightly more than 2 out of 10,000 children from birth to 19 years old were hospitalized in 2010 for a traumatic brain injury, according to the state. In 2000, the hospitalization rate was 3.87, or nearly 4 out of 10,000 children.
The state reports that 88,000 Virginians are living with disabilities caused by TBI and of those 21,000 are children.
Still, in a joint letter from State Health Commissioner Karen Remley and Commission of Rehabilitative Services James Rothrock announcing the decline last month, the two also focused on the under-reporting of mild traumatic brain injuries in children.
The mild version, such as concussions, has been the focus of a lot of attention lately especially as it relates to sports and football in particular. And both commissioners warned that because of increased awareness and a state law adopted last year requiring student athletes to be removed from play if a concussion is suspected that more children may be seeking medical care for head injuries.