According to the Brain Injury Association, 2.8 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. TBIs are life-altering events that can happen to anyone, regardless of age or background.
These injuries result from a severe blow or jolt to the head, leading to damage to the brain. While some TBIs are mild and have temporary effects, more severe injuries can have profound and lasting effects.
Causes of TBIs
TBIs can occur due to various accidents and incidents. Falls are a leading cause of TBIs, especially among the elderly and young children. Car crashes, motorcycle accidents and pedestrian accidents can cause an impact that makes the brain collide with the skull.
Athletes, especially in contact sports like football and boxing, are at risk of TBIs. Physical assaults can also involve head trauma, leading to TBIs. Cyclists can sustain TBIs when they are in accidents.
Types of TBIs
Professionals categorize TBIs based on their severity. With a mild TBI, concussions can cause temporary confusion and disorientation. While they are generally not life-threatening, repeated concussions can have long-term consequences.
Contusions are bruises on the brain’s surface and can result from a direct impact on the head. Diffuse Axonal Injury occurs when the brain shifts inside the skull, causing widespread damage to nerve cells. It is often severe and can lead to long-term disabilities.
Symptoms of TBIs
The symptoms of a TBI can vary widely, depending on the injury’s severity. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea and vomiting, confusion, memory problems, sensory disturbances, mood swings or changes in behavior and loss of consciousness. It is important to note that some symptoms may not appear immediately after the injury, and delayed symptoms are not uncommon.
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosing a TBI typically involves a thorough medical evaluation, including imaging tests like CT scans or MRIs. Treatment options vary based on the severity of the injury and may include rest, medication for pain and swelling and rehabilitation therapies.
TBIs can have long-lasting effects, ranging from cognitive impairments and mood disorders to physical disabilities. Recovery often requires time, patience, and support from medical professionals, family and friends.