Motor performance following a mild traumatic brain injury in children: an exploratory study

Brain Inj. 1998 Oct;12(10):843-53. doi: 10.1080/026990598122070.


Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a common occurrence in the paediatric population and, as the concept of motor performance has not been assessed specifically in this population, the purpose of this study was to determine if motor performance deficits are present and can be objectively identified in a sample of children having sustained a mild TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score 13-15). Twenty-eight children aged between 5 and 15 years were recruited immediately post-trauma. Subjects were considered normal on standard neurological exam at the time of discharge. They were assessed 13-18 days post-trauma using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, a norm referenced clinical standardized assessment tool. Compared to published norms, motor performance was significantly lower in domains of balance, response speed and running speed an agility (t-test p < 0.01), and significantly higher in domains of upper extremity coordination and visual motor control (t-test p < 0.01). Although excellent performance can be observed in domains requiring upper limb coordination, motor planning and execution of motor tasks, deficits in balance and response speed can be identified in a significant number of children even after mild TBI. More specific and sensitive evaluations are necessary to identify the exact nature of the problems and evaluate their functional impact on daily activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Postural Balance
  • Psychomotor Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Reaction Time
  • Reference Values