Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. A Study in 2014 revealed there were approximately 2.87 million instances of traumatic brain injury that resulted in emergency medical care, hospitalization, and even death. Over 29% of those involved children.FN1 Sadly, many of these cases are the result of preventable accidents. Raising your awareness of how TBI most commonly occurs and how they can be prevented could reduce your chance of suffering a traumatic brain injury.

How Common is Catastrophic Traumatic Brain Injury?

There are over 425,000 catastrophic traumatic brain injuries every year. FN2 Almost 60,000 people die every year due to traumatic brain injury. FN1

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) Defined

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by an external force that hits, bumps, or jolts the body with enough force to cause the brain to impact with the inside of a person’s skull. TBI’s are also caused when an object penetrates the skull and damages the brain such as a bullet, a piece of machinery, or a fragment of the skull itself. The severity of the injury is dependent on several factors such as the force of the blow and nature of the injury itself. Depending on these and other factors, brain injury can be categorized from mild to moderate or severe.

What are the Most Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Falls and auto collisions are the two most common causes of traumatic brain injury. However, traumatic brain injuries can happen from literally anything that could cause your brain to impact the inside of your skull. Some common reasons for TBI are as follows:

• Falls – Falls are the number one cause of TBI’s according to the Mayo Clinic. Falls from the bed to the floor, down a staircase, or any other type of fall could be significant enough to cause a TBI.
• Auto Collisions – Auto collisions are the second most common cause of TBI. The impact of two vehicles colliding has the force to cause a severe brain injury, but even a low impact can result in mild traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury lawyer may be necessary to establish a causal connection when this occurs.
Sports Injuries – Sports injuries, particularly in football, soccer, wrestling, mixed martial arts, or hockey where the athletes frequently come into violent physical contact with each other is also a common source for TBI.
• Combat or Explosive Blasts – TBI can be a result of injuries sustained in combat operations or from explosive blasts encountered on battlefields across the world. These soldiers have undergone a great deal of physical and mental conditioning that could possibly mask the symptoms of TBI as another illness such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
• Violent Acts – Violence has earned a mention as a common cause for TBI due to the frequency of domestic violence, assaults, and gunshot wounds being the source for many traumatic brain injuries treated in our hospitals every day.

What are the Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

Symptoms of TBI manifest themselves regardless of the severity of the injury. Some symptoms are common for both mild and severe cases of TBI, so you should always seek medical assistance when dealing with possible head injuries. Some common symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury are as follows:

• loss of consciousness for any period
• drowsiness
• nausea or vomiting
• dizziness
• headaches
• difficulties with speech
• difficulty sleeping
• confusion
• blurred vision
• tinnitus (A “ringing” sensation in the ears)
• alterations in taste
• alterations in smell
• photophobia
• noise sensitivity
• anxiousness
• fluctuations in mood
• trouble with memory or concentration.

If you experience these symptoms after a traumatic event, you should get checked out by a medical professional.

How to Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries

Falls are the most common reason for traumatic brain injuries. Below are some helpful tips to help you avoid taking any nasty spills that could leave you or someone you love with a TBI that could have been prevented:

• Improve lighting in your home or office.
• Remove area rugs and secure any cords or cables that could cause a tripping hazard.
• Install handrails on both sides of the staircase where possible.
• Install handrails in the bathrooms.
• Get plenty of exercise and regular vision checks to make sure your vision is at optimal performance.

Preventing Brain Injuries in Children

When it comes to children, safety is the first, second, and third priority. Some ways to prevent traumatic brain injuries in children are:

• Utilize playgrounds that have installed shock-absorbing material on playground surfaces such as the areas around the monkey bars and swing sets.
• Have your children wear helmets when riding bicycles and when playing other contact sports.
• Install window guards to prevent accidental falls from curious kids.

Some forethought and preventative action may not only prevent a traumatic brain injury from happening, it may save someone’s life.

Living with Traumatic Brain Injury

Whether mild or severe, no traumatic brain injury should be taken lightly. Even the mildest concussion can have effects that last months or even years. For more severe traumatic brain injuries, the effects can be life-changing. If you are living with a traumatic brain injury, there are treatment centers that can help. Visit our traumatic brain injury lawyers page to learn more and to find a lit od treatment centers in Texas that may be able to offer help.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Surveillance Report of Traumatic Brain Injury-related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths—United States, 2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
2. Falling Forward Foundation—an organization that helps victims receive care for catastrophic medical events.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Cannon is a Shareholder and trial lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. He has been practicing personal injury law since 1995. He is certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2005.