What You Need to Know About Brain Injuries
The brain is literally responsible for everything we do, whether it is a conscious choice or an involuntary one. That is what makes a brain injury, in part, so traumatic. A brain injury can range from the mild concussion to the debilitating traumatic brain injury. In some cases, a brain injury could lead to death.
How Brain Injuries Occur
A brain injury is the result of a sudden blow or jolt to the head in most cases. In some instances, the injury is caused by an object that pierces or shatters the skull. For example, a football player may be injured when they are tackled and hit the ground with force. The head bounces in such a way that the brain moves within the skull.
In a more serious case, a person may be involved in a vehicle collision in which an object pierces the windshield and then their skull. This is, of course, a severe example, but it is a possibility. Here are the most common causes of brain injury:
A person can fall from almost any height and sustain a brain injury. A trip down the stairs, out of the bath or off a ladder can result in such an injury. Falls are the most common cause of brain injury in young children and older adults.
The second-leading cause of brain injury is a collision. The accident may be between two vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles. Pedestrians may be involved. Any type of accident that results in the body being struck or the head moving violently back and forth or side to side can result in traumatic brain injury.
3. Criminal Acts or Violence
Another leading cause of brain injury is violence. Cases of abuse, gunshots and other assaults that are especially violent can cause the brain to be injured. Shaken baby syndrome is a type of brain injury caused by violence.
Playing sports is dangerous by nature. There is much that can be controlled, such as wearing protective equipment and playing by the rules, but certain things are uncontrollable. Accidents happen in all sports, and brain injuries occur quite commonly in young players who are involved in on-field incidents.
Active-duty military personnel are particularly susceptible to blasts. Explosive devices that are set off or go off next to or near a person can result in brain injury. The concussive force of the explosives can cause the brain to jar back and forth.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury
Brain injury is typically categorized into mild or moderate to severe. Each type of brain injury has symptoms related to it that make it necessary to seek medical attention if it is not sought for you. Symptoms of a mild brain injury may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Disorientation or confusion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Speech problems
- Sleeping problems
- Balance issues
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Changes in the ability to smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Concentration problems
- Memory problems
- Mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
Moderate to severe brain injuries have similar symptoms as those discovered in mild brain injuries. Additionally, people may experience:
- Persistent headache
- Repeated vomiting
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Clear fluid draining from ears or nose
- Inability to wake up
- Numbness in digits
- Loss of coordination
- Confusion that is considered profound
- Unusual behavior
- Slurred speech
Because very small children can’t speak and other children may have difficulty expressing their health issues, it’s important for parents and guardians to watch for the signs of a brain injury in their children. These signs include:
- Change in nursing or eating habits
- Inability to be consoled
- Inability to pay attention
- Change in sleep patterns
- Depressed mood
- Loss of interest in activities or favorite toys
Diagnosing and Treating a Brain Injury
The Glasgow coma scale is typically used to diagnose the severity of a brain injury. Diagnosis can be difficult because the brain is unseen. While doctors may use imaging, they may still miss more subtle injuries or those that simply don’t appear on pictures or images.
To correctly diagnose a brain injury, a medical professional will ask the patient or a witness to describe the accident in detail. They will also ask the patient, if they are conscious, about how they are feeling presently. A doctor will use all of the information presented, along with imaging, to accurately diagnose the condition and rate the severity of the brain injury.
If the brain injury is mild, no treatment is required in most cases. A doctor may advise the patient to rest or to take over-the-counter pain relievers. The person should be monitored at home by a friend or family member and return to the hospital if symptoms worsen or do not go away.
When a person is suspected of having a moderate to severe brain injury, immediate medical care is warranted. Treatment will depend on the exact cause and extent of the injury. The medical team will focus on ensuring that the patient receives an adequate supply of oxygen and that their vital signs are monitored. Follow-up treatment will vary from case to case.
Once a person is treated and no more intervention can be given at the hospital, they may be released to their home or to a rehab facility. Rehabilitation is common after a brain injury and may include an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a speech pathologist and more.
Speak with a DeKalb County Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Today
The costs of care after a traumatic brain injury can quickly skyrocket. If another person was at-fault for your brain injury in Atlanta, reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys for a free consultation. We will review the details of your incident and advise you of your legal options. You may be within your rights to file a personal injury case seeking compensation for your financial difficulties.