Traumatic Brain Injury – Not Just a Bump on the Noggin
The brain is arguably your most important organ but also the most delicate. It is a solid organ but it differs from other parts of the body by having a solid mass called White Matter and a somewhat gelatinous mass called Grey Matter.
Our bodies invest heavily in protecting the brain, not just by surrounding it in a cage of bones, like most other organs, but encasing it in full armor in the form of the skull. The brain’s further security is enhanced by three cushion-like meningeal coverings and cerebrospinal fluid. Despite all this, our brain still sometimes succumbs to injury. These brain injuries are technically termed Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI.
What IS TBI?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also called acquired brain injury or simply head injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.
Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.
A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
Types Of Brain Injury
The types of Traumatic Brain Injury to watch out for are crush injury, increased pressure from a blood clot, laceration by a sharp foreign object, and a concussion from closed, blunt, low-energy trauma. These traumas can occur individually or in combination. Sometimes the injury will be so severe, that the victim may enter into a coma, an unconscious and unresponsive state that may last for a few days to weeks or even years.
The extent of a brain injury depends mainly on the amount of energy transferred during the trauma to the head. The human head moves in three planes – up & down, side bending & rotation. When something strikes the head, the energy is transferred in all those directions. Not only do sudden shocks move the head in all those directions, placing great stress on the neck but they shake the skull and the brain within it like a snow globe.
Hear From A TBI Survivor
In 1998, Laura Bruno, a registered nurse from Arizona was involved in a horrible car accident. As a result, Laura suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that left her with, among other ailments, double vision, paralyzing migraines, and an IQ reduction of 47 points. She chronicles her difficulties in managing her TBI and her unbelievable recovery. In this eBook, she shares her story and strategies that helped her cope and recover. Click here for the TBI Survivor’s Guide.
Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics
- The incidence of TBI in the U.S. is 100 cases per 100,000 people.
- About 50,000 people per year die of TBI.
- 31.7% cases of all TBIs invovle teenagers.
- 64% of TBI are caused by motor vehicle accidents, of these, the driver was under the influence of alcohol 53% of the time.
- Approximately 50% of victims that sustain traumatic brain injury require surgery.