The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, each year. Although most people who sustain a brain injury are able to return to their normal lives, 125,000 people each year are left permanently disabled.
What is a TBI and How Does it Happen?
A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain resulting from some type of external force. According to the CDC, the leading cause of TBI (35.2 percent of all injuries) is falls. The second is motor vehicle/traffic crashes (17.3 percent), followed by struck by/against events (16.5 percent) and assaults (10 percent).
The CDC also notes that those most at risk for brain injuries are children aged four and under and adults aged 75 and older. Males are more often diagnosed with TBI than females.
Effects of TBI
The effects of each brain injury vary greatly depending on the area of the brain that is most affected. Injuries to the left side of the brain can cause:
- Language or speaking difficulties
- Impaired logic
- Depression or anxiety
Injuries to the right side of the brain can cause:
- Visual-spatial impairment
- Loss of “big picture”-type thinking
- Visual memory deficits
The symptoms of a TBI can also vary depending on the severity of the injury. Mild traumatic brain injuries, also called concussions or minor head traumas, are the most common brain injuries; their symptoms often include headaches, memory loss, or dizziness.
Moderate and severe brain injuries have far more significant effects on the individual, from speech and language difficulties, vision impairment and hearing loss, to seizures. A moderate brain injury results when a loss of consciousness occurs for 20 minutes to 6 hours, while a severe injury results when consciousness is lost for more than 6 hours. Recovery periods also vary by the type of injury, seriousness and the individual.
The symptoms of TBI may not become apparent until long after an accident. If you are in an accident that involves an injury to your head, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.