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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Brain Injury and You (Yes I Mean You!)

Brain injuries...they're common and preventable.  So why are we still suffering such a high rate of brain injuries when they are so easily preventable? March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, so read and learn all you can about TBIs, and how to protect yourself and the ones you love from TBIs

What happens when you go flying off a bike and hit your head, take a hard hit during sports, injure your head in a car accident or a variety of other serious and not so serious looking head injuries? You can have a traumatic brain injury (also known as a TBI.) These injuries range from 'mild' (resulting in a short change in consciousness or mental status) to 'severe' (an extended length of unconsciousness or amnesia post injury.) 

What are the changes in your brain after a TBI cause? Changes in your brain after TBI (traumatic brain injury) include: short and long term changes that affect emotions, language, sensation and thinking. TBI an also cause epilepsy and an increased risk for conditions like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders that are more prevalent with age. 

Unfortunately mild TBIs occur frequently and have different results depending on whether or not there are multiple small TBIs over a period of time. Statistics on TBI tell us that approximately 75% of TBIs are concussions or other MILD forms of TBI.  However repeated mild TBIs that continue to occur over long periods of time can result in neurological and cognitive deficits.  TBIs occurring over a short period of time (like hours, days or weeks) can be catastrophic and possibly fatal.  For more information visit the CDC web site and search under TBI for additional information and statistics on TBI.

Your brain is a delicate organ. After it takes a hit you may not even realize the extent of the injury until later. Do you know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of TBI? The CDC has provided a handy chart to help you understand and recognize TBIs.

According to the CDC, all traumatic brain injuries should me treated as a serious and all efforts should be made to prevent even the slightest TBI. 

The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness, to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. Even the mildest TBI can have lifelong consequences.

At age 10 I took a header over the handlebars of my bike onto the sidewalk. Nothing serious(or so I thought, what did I know at 10?), just a typical bike accident due to my tire hitting a stone the wrong way. I went flying over my handlebars. It knocked me out for a few seconds but my head didn't hurt, I wasn't bleeding, so I just went back to playing. The short black out meant nothing to me. Turned out it did mean something to my brain.

Later that summer we were down at the shore. The rest of my family were all at breakfast but I wasn't downstairs yet. My mom asked my sister why I wasn't up yet. My sister told her I was having 'another one of those funny dreams again.'  By the time my mom got upstairs I was just sleeping so no one thought anything of it.  Until it happened again a few months later.  Then it was clear I was having gran mal seizures--what my sister called 'funny dreams.' 

Today the state laws require bike helmets that would probably have prevented the concussion that caused my seizure disorder, gran mal epilepsy. That simple precaution would have saved me years of problems.  Seat belts are another simple and easy everyday way to prevent TBIs.  Simple safety precautions can prevent many TBIs. Things like railings on steps, appropriate lighting and keeping stairs and curbs in good repair.

I was one of the lucky ones.  My seizures eventually were totally under control. But I still have to take drugs to control them. Drugs with side effects. I'd rather have worn a helmet.  But we just didn't know about the problems then.  As I said, I'm lucky, my seizures are controlled.  Regrettably many other people who suffer a TBI have results that can't be controlled or in the worst case scenario, they die from a TBI. 

The month of March is Brain Injury Awareness Month.  Make this the month you educate yourself about ways to prevent brain injury as well as way to tell if someone has a brain injury.  Visit the CDCs website under TBI or their Facebook page.

***This post was sponsored by  The author received compensation for writing this article.  The sponsoring entity is also having a giveaway to promote Brain Injury Awareness Month.  All opinions posted within this post are the authors own and were not influenced by compensation.


  1. Great post, a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer was telling me the very same thing not too long ago. I suffered a pretty hard knock at the head while at work a few weeks ago and everything is better now, but it was pretty nerve racking for a bit. Head injuries should never be ignored, they can lead to serious side effects even if they don't hurt all the time.

  2. Thanks for you comment Jon. Glad if this post helps just one person!