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We analyzed a prospective database of pediatric traumatic brain injury patients to identify predictors of outcome and describe the change in function over time. We hypothesized that neurologic status at hospital discharge would not reflect the long-term neurologic recovery state.This is a descriptive cohort analysis of a single-center prospective database of pediatric traumatic brain injury patients from 2001 to 2012. Functional outcome was assessed at hospital discharge, and the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended Pediatrics or Glasgow Outcome Scale was assessed on average at 15.8 months after injury.Children’s Medical Center Dallas, a single-center PICU and Level 1 Trauma Center.Patients, 0–17 years old, with complicated-mild/moderate or severe accidental traumatic brain injury.Dichotomized long-term outcome was favorable in 217 of 258 patients (84%), 80 of 82 patients (98%) with complicated-mild/moderate injury and 133 of 172 severe patients (77%). In the bivariate analysis, younger age, motor vehicle collision as a mechanism of injury, intracranial pressure monitor placement, cardiopulmonary resuscitation at scene or emergency department, increased hospital length of stay, increased ventilator days (all with p < 0.01) and occurrence of seizures (p = 0.03) were significantly associated with an unfavorable outcome. In multiple regression analysis, younger age (p = 0.03), motor vehicle collision (p = 0.01), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (p < 0.01), and ventilator days (p < 0.01) remained significant. Remarkably, 28 of 60 children (47%) with an unfavorable Glasgow Outcome Scale at hospital discharge improved to a favorable outcome. In severe patients with an unfavorable outcome at hospital discharge, younger age was identified as a risk factor for remaining in an unfavorable condition (p = 0.1).Despite a poor neurologic status at hospital discharge, many children after traumatic brain injury will significantly improve at long-term assessment. The factors most associated with outcomes were age, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, motor vehicle collision, intracranial pressure placement, days on a ventilator, hospital length of stay, and seizures. The factor most associated with improvement from an unfavorable neurologic status at discharge was being older.