Brain Injury Awareness Month: ‘Change Your Mind’ about traumatic brain injuries

March 20, 2019 | 6:00 am


This month, we should come together to de-stigmatize brain injuries, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support programs that are available to victims.

That’s the message by the Brain Injury Association of America during Brain Injury Awareness Month and beyond through its “Change Your Mind” campaign to provide a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injuries, and the needs of people with injuries, and their families.

Here are a few statistics and pieces of information you may not know regarding brain injuries:

  • Each year in United States, approximately 2.5 million new brain injury cases are diagnosed with 1.365 million emergency room visits, and 235,000 hospitalizations totaling between $48-56 billion.
  • About 75 percent of brain injuries that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI).
  • Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all TBIs among American children and adolescents.
  • Every year in America, there are between 80,000-90,000 people who experience the onset of long-term or life-long disabilities associated with a TBI and another 50,000 people will die as a result of the brain injury.
  • An estimated 2,685 of those will be children 14 years of age or younger.
  • Lastly, a fall, more common with the elderly, is the leading cause of brain injuries, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and death.

Chain | Cohn | Stiles, too, wants the public to know that legal help is available for those who suffer traumatic brain injuries from accidents caused by someone else, or from accidents at work. The Bakersfield-, Kern County-based law firm has extensive experience dealing with personal injury cases involving traumatic brain injuries, and has successfully obtained millions of dollars on behalf of victims.

In general, an acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. Essentially, this type of brain injury is one that has occurred after birth. The injury results in a change to the brain’s neuronal activity, which affects the physical integrity, metabolic activity, or functional ability of nerve cells in the brain.

There are two types of acquired brain injury: traumatic and non-traumatic.

  • A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries can be defined as closed (or non-penetrating) or open (penetrating). Examples include falls, assaults, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, workplace injuries, child abuse, domestic violence, and military actions.
  • A non-traumatic brain injury is an alteration in brain function or pathology caused by an internal force. Examples of this include a stroke, infectious disease, seizure, shock, tumors, toxic exposure, lack of oxygen, poisoning, and drug overdose.

Symptoms of traumatic brain injuries can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later. They include:

  • Physical symptoms: Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes, a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented, headaches, nausea or vomiting, fatigue or drowsiness, problems with speech, difficulty sleeping, sleeping more than usual, dizziness or loss of balance. In severe cases, loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours, persistent headache or headache that worsens, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, clear fluids draining from the nose or ears, inability to awaken from sleep, weakness or numbness in fingers and toes, loss of coordination.
  • Sensory symptoms: Blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell, sensitivity to light or sound.
  • Cognitive or mental symptoms: Memory or concentration problems, mood changes or mood swings, feeling depressed or anxious. In severe cases, profound confusion, agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior, slurred speech, coma and other disorders of consciousness.

For more information on brain injuries — including resources, available assistance, and ways to spread awareness — visit the Brain Injury Association of America website at biausa.org.

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If you or someone you know suffers a traumatic brain injury, please call the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles at (661) 323-4000, or chat with us online at chainlaw.com.

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*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.