Traumatic Brain Injuries:  Are They Just for Athletes?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2010 2.5 million TBIs occurred either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.

How Big is the Problem?

  • In 2010, about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with TBI—either alone or in combination with other injuries—in the United States. 
    • TBI contributed to the deaths of more than 50,000 people.
    • TBI was a diagnosis in more than 280,000 hospitalizations and 2.2 million ED visits.  These consisted of TBI alone or TBI in combination with other injuries.
  • Over the past decade (2001–2010), rates of TBI-related ED visits increased by 70%.

What are the Leading Causes of TBI?

  • From 2006–2010, falls were the leading cause of TBI, accounting for 40% of all TBIs in the United States that resulted in an ED visit, hospitalization, or death. 
  • Unintentional blunt trauma (e.g., being hit by an object) was the second leading cause of TBI, accounting for about 15% of TBIs in the United States for 2006–2010.
  • Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI (14%).   When looking at just TBI-related deaths, motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths (26%) for 2006–2010.
  • About 10% of all TBIs are due to assaults.

What are the Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later.

Mild traumatic brain injury

The signs and symptoms may include:

Physical symptoms
  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
Cognitive or mental symptoms
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
Sensory symptoms
  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries

The signs and symptoms may include:

Physical symptoms
  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Loss of coordination
Cognitive or mental symptoms
  • Profound confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness

Obviously all of the above are simply symptoms of a traumatic brain injury.  You need to speak to a healthcare provider to confirm any and all diagnoses.

 

I Have a Traumatic Brain Injury Because of Someone Else’s Negligence. What Do I Do Now?

Call the lawyers at Haun Mena.  We can help.  We will work with you and your medical providers to ensure that you are given the medical treatment you need to get back on your feet.  We will also make sure the person responsible is held accountable and that you are provided the justice you and your family deserve. 

Remember, you don’t pay us a dime – Not. One. Cent. – unless we recover from the at fault party on your behalf.  Call now for your free consultation.