All too often, our clients and their families must deal with the tragic realities of traumatic brain injuries caused by a wide variety of accidents, from semi-truck accidents and motorcycle crashes to school sporting events and on the job injuries. Brain injuries can happen to victims of all ages, and they are often life-altering, if not deadly.
So we’re happy to support the efforts of the Brain Injury Association of America in promoting March 2017 as Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Brain Injury Awareness Month
This year’s public awareness campaign celebrity spokesperson is Montel Williams. Former NFL player Marvin Washington appears in support of the campaign, as well. You may see them on television and in social media, in a variety of video spots discussing issues surrounding brain injuries and TBI.
The 2017 BIAA campaign banner is “Tackling TBI,” and it’s designed not only to increase public awareness of traumatic brain injury (TBI) but to encourage increased research into treatment and prevention of head injuries.
“A TBI can be the start of a misdiagnosed and misunderstood neurological disease and we need to expand on how we deliver help, hope and healing to the millions who have sustained this life-altering, sometimes devastating, injury.”
TBIs and Accidents
Of particular concern, from an accident perspective, are severe TBIs caused during the ordinary course of daily life through the negligence of another.
TBI victims are often hurt in sudden and unexpected events through no fault of their own, like motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and while they are working on the job.
For details on how traumatic brain injuries can result from play on a school field, to riding a bike, or working on a construction site or on a railroad, check out our past posts including:
- Concussions Are Serious Danger for Girls’ Soccer: 2nd Only to Football in Student Head Injury Risk
- Concussion Protocols For Sports Injuries: Are They Enough?
- Injuries to Longshoremen and Harbor Workers in Indiana and Illinois: Maritime Accidents
- Construction Workers: The Most Dangerous Job Today
- In a Bike Accident, Bicyclist Can Be Seriously Hurt or Die
- Brain Injuries to Kids and Teens from TBI Concussions Suffered While Playing Football, Hockey: Sports Helmets Do Not Prevent Permanent Injury to Brain
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
The Mayo Clinic defines a traumatic brain injury as follows:
Traumatic brain injury occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.
Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. An object penetrating the skull, such as a bullet or shattered piece of skull, also can cause traumatic brain injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury may cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells. More serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain that can result in long-term complications or death.
What Happens After a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The effects of a TBI are widespread. From the CDC, not only will the TBI victim require serious medical care and extended hospitalization, but they will need continuing treatment for the rest of their lives.
They will experience problems that impact their daily living including:
- Coordination and balance
- Speech, hearing or vision.
These TBI issues do more than alter the TBI victim’s ability to live a full and independent life. They also change the lives of the TBI victim’s family and loved ones. Parents, spouses, siblings, as well as friends and colleagues are all impacted by the TBI accident, too.
Current TBI Accident Statistics Are Shocking
From the BIAA we know the following about Traumatic Brain Injuries in the United States today:
- Every 13 seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a TBI.
- Every day, 137 people in the U.S. die because of a TBI-related injury.
- One of every 60 people in the U.S. lives with a TBI-related disability.
- The estimated total number of Americans living with a TBI-related disability is 5,300,000.
Advances in TBI Treatment and Prevention
There are efforts underway to discover better ways to protect people from a severe head trauma and resulting traumatic brain injury. Researchers are hard at work to try and find solutions to this tremendous national problem. Private companies and entrepreneurs are also investigating ways to protect and prevent TBIs; there is a profit-incentive to find something like a truly protective sports helmet for athletes, as one example.
1. New Technology
We’ve discussed some of these promising innovations. See, “New Gizmos to Fight Traumatic Brain Injuries and Sports Concussions.” Things like “smart helmets” hold some promise for the future.
2. New Protocols
There is also a project underway now to develop first-time Guidelines for the Rehabilitation and Disease Management of Adults with Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.
3. New Legislation
Congress has passed the 21st Century Cures Act. This new federal law provides for a federal TBI data collection system, overseen by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The data will be used to support funding for future medical research into TBI treatments.
Once again, we are spreading the word about TBI dangers as part of Brain Injury Awareness Month. Please be aware of the risks that you and your loved ones face for a serious accident and severe brain injury. Let’s be careful out there!