The Basics of Brain Injuries
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
A driver left in a coma after a car accident. A drug addict suffering from oxygen deprivation during an overdose. A football player with a concussion. While the injuries in these situations might have vastly different causes and outcomes, all these people have one thing in common: they are all victims of a brain injury.
The average human brain weighs less than three pounds, but it plays a massive role in the body. The brain is in charge of everything in the body, from thinking to movement to breathing and pumping blood. The human body is a complex network of important systems, but without the brain, every system would be thrown entirely out of whack. This is why brain injuries are so devastating and debilitating.
Types of Brain Injuries
Simply put, a brain injury is any injury that causes damage to the brain. Most brain injuries fall under the umbrella of traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. A TBI occurs when a bump, blow, jolt, or other sudden impact to the head causes damage to the brain. TBIs can result from a vast variety of causes, including:
- Car and motorcycle accidents
- Abuse and assault
- Sports accidents
- Gunshot wounds
- Lack of oxygen
The other common type, acquired brain injuries, occur when the injury is caused by a medical condition, like a stroke, meningitis, or a brain tumor.
Since they are commonly a result of car accidents, workplace falls, and other personal injury matters, this article will focus primarily on TBIs.
According to 2013 statistics from the Center for Disease Control, TBIs account for around 282,000 hospitalizations every year, with 50,000 cases ending in death. The CDC study shows that falls accounted for the vast majority of TBI fatalities, particularly among children and the elderly, with car accidents coming in as the third leading cause. While most hospitalizations are due to minor head injuries, recent research has shown that even a minor injury can have serious, lifelong consequences, including a heightened risk for degenerative brain diseases.
The symptoms of a TBI depend on the severity and cause of the injury. A mild TBI might have symptoms such as headaches, confusion, lightheadedness or dizziness, or nausea and vomiting. When a TBI is more severe, the victim might experience these symptoms with more intensity, along with:
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Convulsions or seizures
- Inability to wake up
- Pupil enlargement
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
Since the symptoms of a TBI can be difficult to detect, it is important to seek medical treatment after any kind of head injury.
While a TBI can be the result of a car crash, fall, or just about any type of accident, there are still many ways to prevent a brain injury. Some basic tips for preventing TBIs include:
- Always wearing a helmet while riding a bike or playing sports
- Wear a seat belt in the car, and make sure babies and young children are properly restrained
- Avoid staircases and other areas with inadequate lighting
- Use handrails when going down the stairs
- Report any slip, trip, or fall hazards that you find on someone else’s property
Brain injuries are life-changing, but with proper prevention and education, they can be easily prevented. Since March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, take some time to think about ways YOU can prevent TBIs for yourself, your family, and the people around you.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.