“Brain Injury – Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone,” is the theme of this year’s Brain Injury Awareness Month. Through increased awareness of the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries, the Brain Injury Association hopes to prevent at least some of the 52,000 fatalities and 275,000 hospitalizations that occur every year due to brain injury.
The most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a fall, followed closely by a car accident, workplace injury or assault. Over 1.5 million people throughout the United States will suffer a blow to the head or some type of penetrating head injury that will result in a TBI.
“Brain Injuries Do Not Discriminate”
Three out of four brain injuries are concussions or a mild TBI. Concussion symptoms may include trouble concentrating or thinking; headache, blurred vision or nausea; changes in normal sleep patterns and nervousness or irritability.
Children are not immune from a traumatic brain injury. Those between the ages of 0 to 4 years old, along with teens ages 15 to 19 and adults over 65, are most likely to sustain a TBI. In New York alone, over 36,000 children are seen annually in hospitals and emergency rooms for a head injury. Throughout the United States, the Centers for Disease Control reports that over 450,000 children will be treated for a brain injury each year.
A common misconception about brain injury is that everything is fine as long as the injured person never lost consciousness. When a head injury is not readily apparent, as in an open wound or bleeding from the head, a brain scan such as a CT, MRI, SPECT or PET may be helpful in determining the existence and extent of the injury.