31 Mar Traumatic Brain Injury: Causes, Prevention, And More Fyi
Being aware that you have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) could literally save your life. First and foremost, if you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury by another’s negligence, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro. In such a challenging time, our attorneys are prepared to serve you. With that in mind, what steps could you take to reduce your risk of a brain injury in a variety of settings?
As we consider the scenario below, let’s see if we can assess the seriousness of the brain injury, or if there is even an existing brain trauma:
A young man by the name of John Doe is on his usual morning run when he accidentally trips and hits his head on the ground. He stands up, unfazed, and continues running with no signs of pain or injury.
True or false: Since John doesn’t feel hurt and is able to continue what he was doing with no signs of injury, he has no serious reason to be concerned or seek medical assistance?
That is, in reality, false. From a soccer game concussion to a car accident, any and all classes of brain injuries are nothing to take lightly. Traumatic brain injuries could affect anyone regardless of age, this means younger individuals, the elderly, and anyone in between could suffer from a TBI.
With brain injuries, some suggestive qualities don’t develop until later. Remember the scenario with John as we continue this discussion.
Causes & Symptoms
TBIs are classified into three different groups, ranging from mild to moderate to severe in temperament. They are versatile in the regard that they have a wide range of severity with a variety of symptoms and side effects. The degree of severity is dependent on the force of impact and the circumstances by which the accident took place. Take the concussion, for example.
A concussion is a classic example of a closed-head injury which is a traumatic brain injury in which the skull and dura mater remain intact. What’s more unique about TBIs is that some indicators might not be noticeable until days later, sometimes even weeks!
Remember John Doe at the outset of this article? Even though John didn’t feel any pain or injury at the time of his slip, hitting his head could still result in a brain injury such as a mild concussion. This also means that the appropriate action for John Doe, and any witnesses present at the time of his fall, to take would be to seek medical assistance as soon as possible even if there are no obvious signs of trauma.
Mild traumatic brain injury
A mild traumatic brain injury is the least severe among TBIs, but it is still serious. A mild traumatic brain injury affects the brain cells temporarily. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, you’ll notice evidence of this type of injury if the following occurs physically:
- Short periods of lost consciousness, from a few seconds to a few minutes;
- State of disorientation wherein the individual does not lose consciousness but is dazed and confused;
- Fatigue and drowsiness;
- Dizziness and loss of balance;
- Headache, nausea, and vomiting;
- Difficulty speaking;
- Difficulty with sleeping, including sleeping too much or being unable to fall asleep.
Moderate to severe brain injury
This class of injury may result in bruising, torn tissue, and bleeding–all of which have the potential to cause long-term complications and even death. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, you’ll notice evidence of this type of injury with the following physical, cognitive, and/or sensory indicators:
- Several minutes to hours of lost consciousness or the inability to wake from sleep;
- Severe nausea with repeated vomiting;
- Persistent and worsening headache;
- Dilated pupils in both eyes;
- Loss of coordination or weakness or numbness in limbs, fingers, and toes;
- Clear fluids coming from the nose and ears;
- Convulsions and seizures;
- Significant confusion;
- Out of ordinary behavior;
- Slurred and broken speech.
Prevention & Treatment
We can’t know exactly when an accident will occur, but we can take practical steps to avoid the avoidable. Below are some reminders and tips that could be taken while driving:
Wear your seatbelt. This may be the most essential means of brain injury prevention. And while the simple act of buckling up is easy to underestimate, this prevents as many as half of all serious car crash injuries and deaths. So, always wear your seatbelt and make the necessary car seat accommodations for your children.
Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol is a leading cause of fatal car accidents. About one in three crash-related deaths are the product of drunk driving. And these tragedies are entirely preventable. So, never underestimate your impaired state while under the influence of any sort of drugs or alcohol.
Refrain from cell phone use while you drive. You may well know the incessant buzz of notifications, texts, and calls. And as a result, you are likely tempted to check and respond to these, even while you drive. Yet despite the demands for constant connectivity and immediate response, you must resist cell phone use while you operate your vehicle. According to the University of Utah, cell phone use makes you four times more likely to be involved in a severe car crash.
For recreational and everyday activities:
Wear a helmet. This is applicable advice for any number of activities. From snow sports to the football field, make sure to include your helmet in the safety garb of every high-risk activity you do. Helmets are proven to be particularly beneficial for bike riding safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), bike helmets are 90 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Never hit the trails without one!
Safety-proof your home. It is valuable to incorporate handrails on staircases and in bathrooms. Utilize window guards and baby safety gates to prevent falls, and seek playgrounds with high safety standards such as shock-absorbing ground materials.
What traumatic brain injury treatment is available for you? Well, each brain injury can not be treated the same. Brain injuries are among the most catastrophic results of an accident, with the ability to change an individual’s life forever with few opportunities for recovery. The appropriate treatment is needed to make appropriate recovery in cases that are applicable.
Based on the severity of the TBI you’ve experienced, your medical professional might recommend a form of rehabilitation therapy, such as physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT). They might additionally prescribe medication to ease some post-TBI conditions such as headache, nausea, or seizures.
Whatever the case, The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro may be able to provide additional assistance. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury by another’s negligence, please do not hesitate to reach out. The Shapiro team is here to advocate for you with expert legal counsel and advisement. In this challenging time, our attorneys are prepared to serve you.