The TRACK-TBI Pediatrics Research Group has as its focus ensuring that the development of clinical research platforms for the study of traumatic brain injury includes data collection and study questions relevant to pediatric patients of all ages. In alignment with National Institutes of Health goals, and with its support, the Common Data Elements for Traumatic Brain Injury included representatives from a wide variety of pediatric subspecialties, from acute care clinicians through imaging researchers and rehabilitation and outcomes experts. In this way, injuries, host factors, and outcome metrics appropriate to pediatric patients were included throughout the development of the TBI research infrastructure utilized by TRACK-TBI.
The TRACK-TBI multicenter approach has enabled the enrollment of pediatric patients across the injury spectrum, from outpatients through those requiring intensive care, and this has allowed for the further refinement and testing of specific assessment, characterization, and outcomes measures specific for children at different stages of maturation. Comprehensive but rapidly acquired MRI protocols for unsedated infants and young children have been developed, and focused behavioral and neuropsychological measures using both parent report and direct testing, have been collected. All different types of injury, from child abuse through pedestrians struck by vehicles to sports injuries, are represented. These efforts will enable comparisons of the effects and recovery from injury across the lifespan, and will provide a rich source of both natural history and comparative effectiveness data for clinicians and researchers. In addition, specific treatment trials can be performed with age-appropriate tools which have been tested and refined via the TRACK TBI mechanism.