Recognizing and Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in temporary injury, permanent disability, or death.  A TBI can be caused by a jolt, blow, or bump to the head.  It may also be the result of penetrating head injury.  A TBI can be mild, resulting in a short change in mental status.  Alternatively, a TBI may last longer, resulting in an extended period of unconsciousness.  Sometimes, a TBI results in amnesia after an injury.

Danger Signs in Adults

Traumatic brain injury can result in a dangerous condition where a blood clot crowds the brain.  If you have bumped your head, received a blow, or your body or head was jolted, watch for these danger signs.  If you experience any of them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends contacting your medical professional or emergency room immediately.

  • Slurred speech;
  • Repeated nausea and vomiting;
  • Weakness;
  • Numbness;
  • Decreased coordination; as well as
  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away.

Additionally, if you have sustained a blow, bump, or jolt to the head, you should ask someone to check on you regularly.  If you display any of the following symptoms, your friend or loved one should immediately take you to the emergency room:

  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Becoming increasingly agitated, confused, or restless;
  • Displaying unusual behavior;
  • Unable to recognize people;
  • Unable to recognize places;
  • Convulsions;
  • Seizures;
  • Appearing very drowsy;
  • Unable to wake up; or
  • Having one pupil larger than the other.

Danger Signs in Children

If a child sustains a blow, bump, or jolt to the head or body, and displays any of the adult warning signs, they should be taken to the emergency room right away.  Additionally, if your child

  • will not stop crying;
  • is otherwise inconsolable;
  • will not eat; or
  • will not nurse;

 

you should seek emergency medical attention.

Potential Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

There is a wide range of potential effects of TBI.  Generally speaking, TBI can result in both short and long-term changes in the following:

  • Emotion: TBI may result in feelings of anxiety and depression. Persons affected may exhibit personality changes, acting out, and general social inappropriateness.
  • Language: TBI can impact one’s ability to express oneself, communicate clearly, and understand what is being communicated to them.
  • Sensation: Both sight and balance can be impacted by a TBI.
  • Thinking: TBI may impact one’s memory.  Additionally, it may impact one’s reasoning.

A TBI can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other brain disorders, according to the CDC.  A TBI may also cause epilepsy.

Understanding a Concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury

A concussion is a mild form of a traumatic brain injury.  Around 75 % of all traumatic brain injuries are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury each year.  Repeated traumatic brain injuries are particularly dangerous.  Over time, the cumulative effects of traumatic brain injury can include neurological and cognitive deficits.  If one suffers repeated mild traumatic brain injuries within a short period of time, the results can be catastrophic.  It may even be fatal.   A “short period” may be over a few hours, days, or weeks,

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury

Not all TBI’s are the same.  Sometimes, there is no full recovery from a traumatic brain injury.  Other times, a full recovery is possible.  In either event, there are some general tips the CDC recommends when healing from a traumatic brain injury, to the extent healing is possible:

  • Write things down to aid in remembering;
  • Take medication as prescribed;
  • Do not take medication not prescribed;
  • Avoid situations where another head injury may be sustained;
  • Don’t drink alcohol without a doctor’s approval;
  • Consider returning to work gradually, rather than all at once;
  • Refrain from multitasking;
  • Consult with a trusted friend or family member when making decisions you consider important;
  • Avoid extended computer use;
  • Rest; and finally,
  • Be patient with yourself. You may need to re-learn some skills.  As your health care professional for a referral.

Protect You and Your Loved Ones from Traumatic Brain Injury

While you cannot predict every eventuality, there are certain steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of getting a traumatic brain injury.  These include:

  • Use child car seats as designed;
  • Wear seat belts every time;
  • Don’t drink and drive;
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bike, snowmobile, or all-terrain vehicle, while skiing or snowboarding;
  • Make certain living areas are free of fall hazards by doing the following:
    • Identify and remove tripping hazards such as cords and clutter across walkways;
    • Install nonslip mats in the bathtub;
    • Install handrails on the stairwells; and
    • Improve lighting.
  • Install window guards to prevent small children from falling out windows; and
  • Use safety guards on stairwells if you have small children.

If You Have Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  Whether due to a car accident, a slip and fall, or some other situation, at The O’Brien Firm, we will work with you and for you.  Our goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve.  We offer free consultations.  If you are not feeling up to travel, our attorneys will come to you.  Contact us today at (716) 907-7777.