As a personal injury law firm, we are familiar with the term “TBI” or traumatic brain injury. We have encountered clients with TBIs as a result of a car accident or a fall. Many of our clients are confused as to this diagnosis and we guide them to the necessary health care providers to treat and educate them on this permanent debilitating injury.
What is a TBI?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of injury caused by sudden damage to the brain. Depending on how the trauma occurred, TBIs can be either open or closed head injuries.
- Open Head Injuries: These injuries occur when an object enters the brain and causes damage to specific brain parts.
- Closed Head Injuries: These injuries result from a blow to the head such as when the head strikes the windshield or dashboard in a car accident.
What causes TBI?
The CDC has identified the leading causes of TBI to be
- motor vehicle and pedestrian-related accidents,
- collision-related (being struck by or against) events, and
- violent assaults.
How big is the problem?
· In 2010, about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with TBI-either alone or in combination with other injuries-in the United States.
· TBI contributed to the deaths of more than 50,000 people.
· TBI was a diagnosis in more than 280,000 hospitalizations and 2.2 million ED visits. These consisted of TBI alone or TBI in combination with other injuries.
· Over the past decade (2001-2010), while rates of TBI-related ED visits increased by 70%, hospitalization rates only increased by 11% and death rates decreased by 7%.
· In 2009, an estimated 248,418 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in U.S. EDs for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI.
· From 2001 to 2009, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, rose 57% among children (age 19 or younger).
The Mayo Clinic gives very valuable tips to prevent a TBI:
· Seat belts and airbags. Always wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle. A small child should always sit in the back seat of a car and be secured in child safety seats or booster seats that are appropriate for his or her size and weight.
· Alcohol and drug use. Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications that can impair the ability to drive.
· Helmets. Wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, motorcycle, snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle. Also wear appropriate head protection when playing baseball or contact sports, skiing, skating, snowboarding, or riding a horse.
· Preventing falls. Install handrails in bathrooms, put a nonslip mat in the bathtub or shower, remove area rugs, install handrails on both sides of staircases, improve lighting in the home, keep stairs and floors clear of clutter, get regular vision checkups, and get regular exercise
· Preventing head injuries in children. Install safety gates at the top of a stairway, Keep stairs clear of clutter, Install window guards to prevent falls, put a nonslip mat in the bathtub or shower, use playgrounds that have shock-absorbing materials on the ground, make sure area rugs are secure, and don’t let children play on fire escapes or balconies