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Understanding causes and effects of traumatic brain injury


For people in Boston, being in an accident is a frightening thing. Injuries suffered in that accident only make things worse. When there is a head injury, an ongoing concern is how it will affect the brain. Having a handle on the facts and statistics regarding these injuries can help a person or family through the ordeal.

Traumatic brain injury contributes to approximately 30 percent of deaths due to injury in the United States. While these injuries don't always result in a fatality, they can have long-lasting effects on the life of the injured person and his or her family. Medical expenses to treat a person with a traumatic brain injury, rehabilitation and aftercare can be massive costs. Families might have to alter their entire lives to care for a person who has suffered this level of injury and is not able to fully recover from its aftereffects.

This type of injury can occur for a number of reasons including a blow to the head, a jolt or an object penetrating the brain. The injuries can vary from mild to severe. In 2010 alone, 2.5 million people went to the emergency room, were hospitalized or died because of traumatic brain injury; 50,000 of those people died.

Children age 19 or younger are particularly susceptible to brain trauma, with nearly 250,000 treated in 2009. Often, these injuries involve sports. In addition, falls accounted for 40 percent of traumatic brain injuries between 2006 and 2010. Furthermore, 55 percent of kids 14 and under who suffered traumatic brain injuries got those injuries from falls. For people 65 and over, the number was 81 percent. 15 percent of the injuries in that time span were due to blunt trauma.

The risks for traumatic brain injury depend on the circumstances. Men have three times of a chance to be fatally injured from brain trauma than women. People over 65 have the highest rates of brain trauma. Falls were the most frequent causes for elderly people. For those between the ages of 5 and 24, motor vehicle accidents were the most frequent reason for TBI. Age 0 to 4 commonly suffered assaults. It is imperative to know the signs of TBI and act accordingly. If there is a concern about negligence, discussing the matter with an experienced attorney is a smart step.

Source: CDC.gov, "Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Fact Sheet," Accessed on Sept. 2, 2014

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