What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

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A severe blow to the head can result in traumatic brain injury (TBI) or even death if not diagnosed early and managed properly. In fact, Traumatic brain injuries contribute to roughly 30% of all injury-related deaths in the United States.[1] Often, individuals suffer traumatic brain injuries in what they perceive as minor injuries. Unlike broken bones or bloody injuries that are apparent, traumatic brain injuries are often difficult to detect and require proper evaluations and testing by trained medical professionals.

Brain Injury

It is very important to seek medical help if you suspect that your or a loved one may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Trained medical professionals employ several types of imaging tests including computerized tomography (CT) , magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and Intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring in conjunction with the Glasgow coma scale (GCS) in order to properly diagnose a patient for a traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic brain injuries are categorized the severity of damage to the brain.  The three categories include mild, moderate, and severe traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries will manifest issues with a person’s cognitive functions, motor functions, sensations, and emotions.

For mild traumatic brain injury, the symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, difficulty sleeping, temporary loss of consciousness, and dizziness. The sensory symptoms one can expect to experience include ringing sounds in the ear, blurred vision, and hypersensitivity to light and sound.

The symptoms of more severe traumatic brain injury are much more obvious. These symptoms include complete loss of consciousness for extended periods of time, repeated vomiting, loss of coordination, clear fluids draining from the ears or nose, and the inability to wake promptly from sleep. Cognitive or mental symptoms may include confusion and slurred speech.

For children, the symptoms can be entirely different. Younger children are unable to communicate their symptoms the same way that a teenager or adult can.  This is especially true for infants.  Infants who have suffered a brain injury due to a fall or blow to the head may not display any symptoms that differ from their normal behavior.  This is because the normal behavior of healthy infants is sometimes indistinguishable from the behavior of an infant who has suffered from a mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.  These symptoms include changes in sleep habits, the inability to pay attention, drowsiness, seizures, loss of interest in toys and activities, persistent crying, and the inability to be consoled.

What are the causes of traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury is normally caused by a blow or impact to the head or body. Some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury include:

Sport-related injuries – for adults and children that love sports such as football, baseball, hockey, skateboarding, soccer, boxing or other extreme sport, they are at risk of having a traumatic brain injury. Certain sports like soccer, tackle football and boxing present significant risks that can be mitigated by wearing proper protective gear and having readily available medical professionals.

Falls – Falls can occur at any place at any time and account for somewhere around 47% of traumatic brain injuries.  The most common types of falls include slips on wet or uneven surfaces. Adults aged 60 or older and children, i.e., newborns to around four years old account for a large portion of individuals who suffer brain injuries as the result of a fall.

Vehicle collisions – Motor vehicle collisions account for a significant number of traumatic brain injuries each year.  It is imperative that passengers involved in a motor vehicle collision seek medical attention immediately following the accident. Concussions are very common even with minor impact motor vehicle collisions. After seeking medical attention, it is important to consult an experienced attorney who understands the complexities of traumatic brain injuries.

Prevention

The most obvious way to protect the human body from suffering a traumatic brain injury is the use of a protective helmet when engaging in certain activities and modes of transportation. These activities include contact sports like ice hockey and extreme sports like skiing, horseback riding, skateboarding, and even wake boarding. Helmets must always be worn when riding motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, ATVs, and other types of vehicles that do not offer the same protection offered by four-wheeled automobiles with seat belts.

Reference;

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/severe.html

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