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Neurocognitive Stall: A Paradox in Long-Term Recovery from Pediatric Brain Injury

Group of four teens talking while studying on the lawn of a school campus.

Brain Injury Professional

Sandra Bond Chapman

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When it comes to TBI as a young person, it has been newly demonstrated that children typically recover quicker in the immediate phase of their injury, but endure a stall in the latent stage. This plateau of recovery and continued development generally occurs one year or more after brain injury and can affect all skills including cognitive, social, and motor. Complex networks in the frontal lobe of the brain mature and develop in the adolescent years. For those children growing up with a TBI, a neurocognitive stall may become more obvious when they arrive at this critical period of complex brain development during adolescence into emerging adulthood when advanced skills such as working memory, abstract reasoning, and gist abilities, typically mature. Predictions of which children will undergo a stall, what skills will be most affected, and when a neurocognitive stall will occur remain difficult. Traumatic brain injury, especially in children, will require long-term care and follow-up to monitor when a stall occurs to allow for timely intervention for the best possible chances of preventing further long-term deficits. 

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Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project