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What is a brain injury?

Brain injuries fall under the umbrella term acquired brain injury (ABI)--- an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. Examples of these type of brain injuries include stroke, near drowning, hypoxic or anoxic brain injury, tumor, neurotoxins, electric shock or lightning strike. 

 

A brain injury that is caused by external force (i.e., fall, motor vehicle accident, bomb blast or assault) is called traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since these injuries happen after birth, they are also considered acquired brain injuries. 

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Each year, 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur, and approximately half of those hospitalized with a head injury are 24 years old or younger. Symptoms of concussions include confusion, nausea, vision changes, dizziness, tinnitus, vomiting, and headache.

While a blow or force to the head can cause a concussion or mild injury to the brain, TBI's can be severe and lead to death. Symptoms can include lack of concentration, memory deficit, compromised judgment and awareness, and issues with balance and coordination that can range from mild to severe. Patients with TBI can present other complications at the time of injury, such as spinal injury, multiple fractures and organ failure, flail chest, lung contusions, etc. Unfortunately, the development of these complications increases the likelihood of a secondary disability and may likely extend the patient’s need for care in the hospital setting and beyond.

Head and brain injuries can be the result of many types of incidents, such as falls (35%), car crashes (17%), workplace accidents (16%), assaults (10%), and other causes (21%). Not one brain injury is the same as the other. Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, medical costs and long-term outcomes vary greatly from person to person. The following links demonstrate four distinct cases of brain injury. 

Mike, age 42

Sean, age 19

Maxwell, age 23

Shanti, age 6 

Brain injury affects every aspect of a persons life including family and friends. Life as we know it is forever changed by a brain injury. A brain injury can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. According to a downloadable fact sheet provided on the Brain Injury Association of America website, TBI may be more prevalent than you may think...

 

 

Recommended Reading: Understanding Brain Injury - A Guide for the Family from Mayo Clinic. DOWNLOAD HERE

References:

Brain Injury Association of America. https://www.biausa.org

Daneshvar, D. H., Nowinski, C. J., McKee, A., & Cantu, R. C. (2011). The Epidemiology of Sport-Related Concussion. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 30(1), 1–17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2987636