Each year, approximately 1.7 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the Centers for Disease Control, 275,000 are hospitalized and 1.365 million (almost 80%) are treated and released. However, 52,000 Americans die from Traumatic Brain Injury annually – that’s over 30% of all injury-related deaths.
Types Of TBI
Severe head injuries are those caused by penetrating, open wounds to the head. In many cases, the skull has been crushed or fractured. These are injuries that might occur during a serious car or motorcycle accident, during an extremely violent assault, or during a construction accident. When severe head injuries happen, there usually is no debate as to whether the victim needs a doctor. Usually, an ambulance is called without hesitation.
However, the more common type of traumatic brain injury, a concussion, can be deceiving. A person can suffer a concussion as a result of a serious blow to the head (in which case, most often he or she would be rushed to the hospital). Or, someone can suffer a concussion from a seemingly harmless trip and fall accident. Herein lies the danger. Too often, people think: ‘I’m ok’ or ‘I’ll see how I feel later on.’ The problem is, later on might be too late.
Know The Symptoms
The best way to protect yourself from underestimating the seriousness
of a concussion is to know the symptoms including:
- slurred speech;
- vomiting or nausea;
- problems with coordination;
- dilated pupils;
- blood from the nose or the ears;
- fatigue or drowsiness;
In more serious concussions, an individual might experience a seizure, appear confused or disoriented, or actually lose consciousness.
What To Do When You’re Injured
The insidious thing about TBI is how it often can go unnoticed. An individual could trip and fall, get up, and feel relatively normal. Then, hours or even days later the symptoms may manifest. Last year, actress
Natasha Richardson had a skiing accident and later died because she didn’t recognize the seriousness of her accident. Unfortunately, she waited hours before getting medical attention. The bottom line is: whether you suffer a mild or severe head injury, always seek medical attention. Most people fully recover from mild head injuries. But there are instances where people are more seriously hurt than they realize. Playing it safe can save your life.