OBJECTIVE: To investigate the natural course of activities and participation of children up to 6 months after a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).
METHODS: A prospective longitudinal cohort study with complete data sets of 231 children diagnosed with mTBI and their caregivers.
MAIN MEASURES: Activities and participation assessed with the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP) and the Children's Assessment of Participation and Enjoyment (CAPE) measured at 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months post-mTBI. Because of a ceiling effect, the primary outcome measure (CASP) was divided into deviant (not maximum score) or full functioning.
RESULTS: Friedman's, Cochran's Q, and McNemar's tests (CASP) and repeated-measures analyses of variance (CAPE) showed significant increases in activities and participation between 2 weeks and 3 and 6 months after mTBI. Based on the parents' perspective, 67% of the children returned to full functioning at 6 months postinjury, with only 38% of the children describing themselves as functioning at their premorbid level.
DISCUSSION: Findings indicate that most children return to maximum level of activities and participation over time after mTBI. In a substantial number of children, however, the level of activities and participation at 6 months postinjury is evaluated as lower than that of peers. The importance of investigating predictors for child and caregiver perspectives is emphasized.