Brain Injury

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a thump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that interrupts the normal function of the brain. A strike to the head can result in a concussion or bruise to the brain from the impact. The severity of a blow to the head can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms from a mild blow can range from dizziness to short-term mental lapses. Symptoms from a severe blow to the head can range from extended periods of unconsciousness to amnesia. A TBI can lead to long-term problems with motor skills, mental functions, or even cognitive abilities. Some of the more common causes of TBI include epilepsy, mental response to cardiac arrest, or a concussion brought on by a sports injury, fall, assault, or traffic accident.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million people suffer a sport related concussion in the U.S. every year. Men are one and half times more likely to experience a brain injury. The two age groups more likely to experience a TBI are 0-4 and 15-19 years of age. The leading cause of TBI in high school sports is football for boys and soccer for girls. The number of persons in U.S. prisons that report a previous head injury is 87 percent. The principal causes of brain injury are falls, traffic accidents, strikes to the head, and physical assault. Bicycling, football, basketball, playgrounds, and soccer currently make up the five principle causes of brain injury among youths 5 to 18 years of age. The highest death rate from brain injuries is in the African-American community.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) conducted a separate study that considered the immediate medical effects of TBI’s caused by a sudden jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury. The agencies concluded that: 1.4 million Americans experienced a traumatic brain injury in 2006. Out of those: 1.1 million were treated and released from in local emergency rooms, 235,000 were hospitalized, and 50,000 died from their injuries. A TBI can result in lifelong physical, cognitive, emotional and behavior problems. Other symptoms can include fatigue, confusion, headaches, sleep disorder, memory problems, nausea, and/or mood swings. Typically, victims notice symptoms of TBI very soon after the accident or injury, but some symptoms can take up to a few weeks after the event to appear.

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