Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Over the past five years, awareness of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) has significantly increased due to the prevalence of concussions in professional football. Most people understand that some type of blow to a person’s head can cause damage, but it wasn’t until doctors began publicizing studies about the effect of concussions on the brains of NFL players that people understood how dangerous these injuries were to a person’s health.
But the question still remains: What are TBIs?
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a TBI is defined as a “disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.”
Irrespective of the severity of the blow, bump or jolt, a TBI will affect the brain’s normal function. Most TBIs are categorized as either mild or severe, and the most common type of TBIs are concussions.
The CDC reported that 153 people throughout the U.S. die of TBI-related injuries, and TBIs cause 30 percent of all injury deaths every day.
Why Is It A Problem?
TBIs are a significant health issue, because any damage to the brain – no matter how small – can increase the likelihood that the next incident will cause even more damage. For example, doctors have found that people who suffer their first concussion will experience more serious effects with each successive concussion.
According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, there are between 1.6 million and 3.8 million concussions related to sports and recreation in the U.S. every year.
But of greater concern is the fact that from 2001 to 2005, youth between the age of 5 and 18 suffered 2.4 million sports-related visits to hospital emergency rooms – and 6 percent of those injuries were caused by concussions.
Here are some other facts that should concern everyone about TBIs:
- 10 percent of all athletes who participate in contact sports suffer concussions every year.
- An athlete who suffers a concussion is four to six times more likely to suffer a second concussion.
- As many as 86 percent of athletes that suffer concussions also suffer from Post-Traumatic Migraine or another kind of headache pain.
- 1.5 million Americans suffer TBIs every year.
- A TBI occurs every 15 seconds.
- TBIs are the leading cause of death among children and young adults.
- TBIs cause nearly twice the number of deaths as AIDS.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
While it may seem as if blows to the head are the most common cause of a TBI, research has found that falls are the most common cause of TBIs.
Another leading cause of a TBI are motor vehicle accidents and physical assaults, both of which can create the necessary force to jolt a person’s head and cause the brain to shift within the skull.
Signs Of a TBI
After the brain suffers a TBI, there are some signs and symptoms that can help people determine whether this type of injury has occurred:
- Inability to think clearly coupled with headache, blurry vision and sleeping longer than usual.
- Slowed movements accompanied by nausea or vomiting and sleeping less than normal.
- Inability to concentrate paired with sudden sensitivity to noise and light, as well as balance problems.
- Inability to remember new information along with exhaustion, lack of energy and sudden increase in anxiety.
These are the most common signs that a person has suffered a TBI and should be taken to a health care facility for further evaluation.