5 Common Causes of Brain Injuries

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A traumatic brain injury can be devastating and permanent for the sufferer and his family.

Every year, approximately 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 80% end up in an emergency room. In Alabama, more than 10,000 are impacted by brain injury annually. One-third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. include traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a contributing factor, according to federal reports.

Following a strike to the head, physical, intellectual, emotional, and social changes can result requiring long-term therapy and counselling.

Brain injury is considered to take three forms:

Mild – Resulting from a concussion with brief or no loss of consciousness. About 75% of brain injuries fall into the concussion or mild trauma injury category.

Moderate – Results in loss of consciousness ranging from a few minutes to hours and followed by confusion.

Severe– Prolonged unconsciousness or coma which can last weeks or longer.

While the individual may look the same, he may never be the same.

What Causes Brain Injury?

Brain injury occurs when the soft grey matter of the brain strikes the skull during a head collision with a stationary object. These are considered closed head injuries.

Then there are the open head injuries which occur when an external object, such as a bullet, penetrates the skull damaging delicate brain tissue. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control identified the five most frequent causes of TBIs from 2002-2006:

  • Falls – Falls lead to a TBI 35.2% of the time
  • Blows to the head – This was the cause of a TBI 16.5% of the time
  • Assault- Was the cause of a TBI 10% of the time
  • Motor vehicle accidents – Caused TBI’s 10% of the time with rates highest in the 20-24 age group
  • Other – Causes of a brain injury can include domestic violence and near-drowning. They occur 21% of the time

Consider that when there is a strike in a closed head injury the contact of the brain with the skull is just the first point of impact.  There may be a second point of impact as the brain strikes the opposite part of the skull.

Depending on where the brain is injured, it can result in different alterations to functions and limitations such as changes in personality and behavior, inability to deal with social situations, loss of flexibility in thinking, problems completing sequential tasks, paralysis, inability to focus, memory, language usage, emotional control.

It may not be surprising that males have a higher rate of TBI than females and after every TBI, the risk for additional injury increases. 

Preventable Brain Injuries

Many accidents that result in a brain injury are preventable. For example, wearing a seat belt will make it less likely you are thrown from a car. 

Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle can protect your head in the event of a collision.

Keeping children away from open water or pools will prevent brain injuries resulting from a near drowning.  

TBI is the leading cause of death for children under the age of one.

The Cost of Long-Term Brain Injury

Because so many traumatic brain injuries are permanent, an enormous burden, both financial and emotional, is placed on the family.

The estimated cost of a TBI in 2010, for example, was $76.3 billion dollars, according to the CDC.

With no way to return to work, a family may have to adjust permanently to the new normal. If the injured person is a child, the concern must be on his or her re-entry into the home and school.

To a parent, a brain injury may mean a dramatic change in household income and long-term medical needs.

Many people do not know where to turn to seek health services offered by the state. It’s important to receive much-needed services as quickly as possible after injury.  A faster intervention time results in a quicker recovery time.

Chip Nix is a compassionate Montgomery, Alabama attorney who has seen the devastation that brain injury can bring to a family and the way it can change lives.  You can reach him at his Montgomery office at (334)203-6669 for a complimentary consultation to see how he can help you.

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