Every year, over a million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, a TBI can cause numerous long-term consequences, including disability and death. And sadly, as our Joplin personal injury lawyers know, car accidents are the most common causes of TBI: according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, approximately half of all TBIs can be attributed to transportation accidents. Currently, there are an estimated 5.3 million Americans who are struggling with long-term disability due to TBIs. In this post, we share some basic information about these debilitating injuries.
What kinds of TBIs are there?
• Penetrating injuries: When an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain, damaging specific parts of the brain.
• Closed head injuries: When a blow to the head causes internal brain damage. These injuries can be complicated, since there's often no visible evidence of the degree of injury. "There are countless 'walking wounded' who look just fine on the outside, but who aren't the same on the inside," explains Jonathan Lifshitz, assistant professor at the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center.
What are some common symptoms of TBI?
Mild TBIs can cause the following symptoms:
• Feeling dazed, dizzy or disoriented
• Trouble concentrating or remembering things
• Losing consciousness (for a period of a few seconds to a few minutes)
• Feeling drowsy or tired; sleeping more than normal
• Sensory problems (blurred vision, ringing in the ears, etc.)
Moderate to severe TBIs may be accompanied by these symptoms:
• Abnormal behavior (feeling confused, agitated, or combative)
• Losing consciousness (for a period of several minutes to several hours)
• Slurred speech, poor coordination, or loss of other motor functions
• Constant headaches, or a headache that gets progressively worse
• A weak or numb feeling in the fingers and toes
• Dilated pupils
How are TBIs treated?
First and foremost: if you or a loved on has been involved in a car accident resulting in any form of head injury, we urge you to seek medical attention immediately. In some cases, symptoms won't present themselves right away - and especially in the event of a closed head injury, you may not know how badly you're hurt unless you're examined by a doctor. Receiving prompt treatment is extremely important.
The best treatment for a TBI varies, depending on the degree of injury and the area of the train that is affected. A serious TBI can require extensive, long-term treatment, which may involve the following:
• Medication (to reduce fluid in the brain; to prevent seizures; etc.)
• Surgery (to remove clotted blood; to repair a fractured skull; to relieve pressure on the brain, etc.)
• Rehabilitation (to relearn skills; to improve physical mobility; to redevelop communication abilities, etc.)