When a person hits their head, they may think it’s just a small bump that doesn’t require any sort of medical attention; however, it could actually be a traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries can be particularly troublesome to diagnose and treat and can thus result in paralysis or death for victims.
How a Traumatic Brain Injury Happens
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of a violent blow or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. While mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) may affect brain cells temporarily, more serious instances can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding, and other physical damage to the brain.
The neurons and blood vessels inside the brain are typically well protected by the skull, three layers of meninges, and the scalp. When a TBI happens, however, the impact or rapid movement can damage these neurons and blood vessels in the brain, and cause bleeding and microscopic injuries as well.
Common movements that injure the brain include:
Impact: When the head is hit directly, shockwaves reverberate throughout the brain tissue. These shockwaves travel in all directions simultaneously, resulting in damage to the individual neurons in the brain.
Deceleration: When the head moves rapidly, it will eventually abruptly stop. This causes the brain to bang against the inside of the skull. In more severe cases, the brain can bang against one side of skull and bounce back to hit the other side. This kind of trauma can cause the blood vessels to stretch, tear, and bleed.
Rotation: A violent twisting of the head or neck can cause rotation of the brain inside the skull. This can cause further injury to the nerves and blood vessels in the brain.
Edema/swelling: Along with bleeding and nerve damage, the brain may undergo severe swelling following a TBI. This can cause additional brain damage due to compression of the brain within the skull.
Traumatic Brain Injury by the Numbers
In the United States, TBI has become an ongoing crisis. Nearly 5.3 million Americans are living with a permanent disability resulting from a brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report roughly 2.8 million people sustain a TBI annually. Over 282,000 of those people will be hospitalized. Unfortunately, after suffering a TBI, victims may find they no longer have a sense of smell, taste, that their sleeping habits have changed, or that they are no longer able to perform at work.
Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries
Because TBIs have the potential to be incredibly devastating, there are many different ways to help prevent them, including:
Wearing a seatbelt: No matter a person’s age or position in a vehicle, seatbelts should always be worn. Small children should always sit in the back seat of a car and be secured in a child safety seat appropriate for their height and weight. Adults should ensure their seatbelts are secure, resting on the stomach and across the front of the passengers and driver.
Using helmets: Helmets should always be worn when riding a bicycle, skateboard, motorcycle, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle. Additionally, appropriate head protection should be worn when playing baseball or contact sports, skiing, snowboarding, or riding a horse.
Implement fall prevention measures: Falls are the most common cause of TBIs, and they are especially common among the elderly and young children. Certain preventative measures can be taken to prevent them, including installing handrails in bathrooms, using nonslip mats in the bathtub and shower, removing area rugs, improving lighting, using playgrounds with shock-absorbing materials, and keeping stairs and floors free of clutter.
Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys
If you or someone you know has suffered a blow to the head or has been injured in an accident where the head was jarred unexpectedly, its important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you believe another person, company, or device may have caused a TBI, our experienced Houston brain injury attorneys can help. Contact Ramsey Law Group today to discuss your claim.