Traumatic brain injury results from sudden trauma to the brain. Traumatic brain injury may be caused when the head is struck by another object, or when an object actually pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. Over one million people each year in the U.S. alone suffer traumatic brain injuries. Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury though many result from falls, work injuries, sports injuries and criminal acts among other causes.
The symptoms of traumatic brain injury range from mild to severe depending on the severity of the injury. Even mild traumatic brain injury may cause a brief loss of consciousness. Likewise, moderate to severe traumatic brain injury may result in only a brief or no loss of consciousness.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that the symptoms of traumatic brain injury “headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. “ The NIH suggests that moderate or severe traumatic brain injury will have these same symptoms but may also include a headache that will not go away, vomiting, nausea, convulsions, seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, slurred speech, dilation of one or both eyes, loss of coordination, weakness or numbness in the extremities, heightened confusion, and agitation.
The NIH indicates that traumatic brain injury is irreversible. As such, there is little that can be done to reverse the initial damage. However, it is possible to prevent further harm. Anyone suffering from these symptoms following a head injury should immediately seek medical attention. Delay could result in further irreversible harm to the brain. Even with immediate medical attention, the NIH suggests that one-half of those suffering severe traumatic brain injuries will require surgery.
The long-term consequences of a traumatic brain injury are often devastating to the injured person and his or her family. The injuries and damages can include permanent and severe mental and physical impairment, loss of income, and emotional and physical pain and suffering. These injuries can require a lifetime of medical care and expense. Worst of all, a person suffering traumatic brain injury is often unrecognizable or at best an approximation or his or her pre-injury self. The toll on the injured person and his or her loved ones can be catastrophic.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, seek immediate medical attention. Delay could prove costly, and in some cases, fatal.