Traumatic Brain Injury has been in the news a lot recently. First, with the thousands of lawsuits filed against the NFL by injured players and now with ongoing lawsuits against the NCAA. Athletes across a range of contact sports, including football, hockey and soccer, have all been injured by severe blows to head, which have prompted a more wide-ranging discussion of the serious danger of concussions.
Though much of the conversation concerning traumatic brain injuries (or TBI) revolves around athletes, the reality is that the second most common cause of concussions is car accidents, something that even ordinary people are at a serious risk of encountering.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are the second leading cause of TBI among Americans, only falls result in more cases of brain damage. While car accidents are number two in terms of the amount of TBI cases, they lead the way with regard to fatality rates. The CDC says that car crashes are responsible for the largest share of TBI-related deaths.
The numbers supplied by the CDC are troubling: 50,000 people dead each year from TBIs, while another 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive. Of this group, an estimated 90,000 people experience long-term disability as a result of the serious head injuries. Even more troubling is that there are an estimated 5.3 million Americans living with disabilities that resulted from a TBI.
TBIs occur during car accidents when a person’s brain hits an object like the steering wheel or windshield. Though it may not result in outward signs of injury, the blow to the head can cause lasting harm. These kinds of injuries happen when a fast moving head comes to a sudden stop and the brain continues moving until it is jarred against the skull. This can lead to bruising or bleeding of the brain, something that may not be obvious at the time of the accident.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s critical that you receive medical attention right away. Be alert for potential TBI symptoms including memory loss, headaches, blurred vision, slurred speech, mood changes or fatigue. If you think you may be suffering from any of these issues, you should seek the care of doctor immediately so that you can avoid sustaining a second, and possibly even more damaging head injury.