Important Facts About Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are a very scary type of injury. Depending on the type and severity of an injury, a person might be able to make a full recovery with proper care, or it could potentially alter a person’s life forever. In the blink of an eye, a person might not be able to live their life the way they had been or have a sudden, drastic change in personality. After surviving an accident involving a Walmart truck, a representative for comedian Tracy Morgan has announced that Morgan is unsure if he will ever be the performer he once was because of a traumatic brain injury. If the news about Morgan has made you think about traumatic brain injuries, here are a few facts for you to consider:
How Common are Traumatic Brain Injuries?
In 2010, traumatic brain injuries resulted in 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths and contributed to 50,000 deaths. The rate of traumatic brain injuries have steadily increased over recent years. Between 2001 and 2010, the amount of emergency room visits related to brain injuries grew 70% and hospitalizations went up 7%, but the death rate went down 7%.
Falls are by far the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Between 2006 and 2010, 40% of all traumatic brain injuries that resulted in a trip to the emergency room, hospitalization, or death were caused by falls. Accidental hits to the head are the second most frequent cause of traumatic brain injuries, followed by car accidents. Assaults account for about 10% of traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone, but two age groups tend to be the most likely to suffer from them: adults over 65 and children under 14. Among all age groups, falls are the top cause of brain injuries. Falls are responsible for 81% of traumatic brain injuries in people over 65 and for 55% of brain injuries in children under 14. Adults over 65 are the most likely to die as a result from brain injuries related to a fall. People under 19 are the age group most likely to suffer sports related brain injuries. People between 15 and 44 are the most likely to get brain injuries from car accidents.
Brain injuries can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Sometimes they show immediately following the injury, other times they might not show until days or weeks later. Losing consciousness (for 30 minutes or less in milder cases, longer for more severe injuries), headache, sudden changes in behavior, dizziness, confusion, nausea, fatigue, sensory impairments (blurred vision, ringing in the ears, etc.), memory loss, convulsions/seizures, and slurred speech are all symptoms of a brain injury.
Not every bump to the head requires medical attention, but it should be sought if you or someone you know suffers a blow to the head and loses consciousness for any amount of time, starts having memory issues, has a persistent headache, has nausea, or exhibits any changes in behavior. You should also consult a doctor if the injury is related to a major event like a car accident, if a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if there are physical signs of injury to their head or neck, or if a person has been taking blood thinners.