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Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury is a serious type of medical condition that can run the gamut from a mild concussion to more severe situations that lead to paralysis and life changing complications.

A traumatic brain injury is caused by a jolt or a blow to the head that disrupts the typical brain activity or by a foreign object that penetrates the skull. Studies have identified that the four most common causes of TBIs are motor vehicle and traffic accidents, falls, being struck by or against something, and assaults. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC further estimates that across the country, around 1.7 million individuals sustain a TBI every year and a TBI is a contributing factor in almost 33% of all injury deaths. Some of the other statistics associated with traumatic brain injuries and their influence on children include:

  • TBI rates are typically higher for boys than girls.
  • TBIs are most commonly sustained by those children younger than age 4 as well as adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19.
  • Approximately half a million children younger than 14 are treated in emergency departments every year for TBI related injuries.

There are various prevention strategies in place that are being developed as more academic and medical research about TBIs comes out. Some of the most common strategies for preventing TBIs include;

  • Educating athletes and parents about the risks and symptoms of sports related traumatic brain injuries.
  • Using appropriate protective gear when engaging in sports.
  • Ensuring soft landing surfaces below playground equipment.
  • Informing new parents about preventing shaken baby syndrome.
  • Using safety gates on stairs.
  • Using guards on windows to prevent falls by young children.
  • Practicing proper traffic safety techniques such as using the right sized booster or safety seats for children.
  • Giving training to officials and coaches to take all necessary steps to minimize the occurrence of sports related TBIs and responding appropriately when these injuries do occur.

Motor vehicle accidents are some of the most common causes of TBIs and approximately 40% of the children who are ultimately hospitalized for their TBI injuries come from a traffic related incident.

Symptoms and Signs of a TBI

The more the parents and caregivers can be aware of the signs and symptoms of a TBI, the more prepared they will be to react quickly if a child appears to be exhibiting these symptoms. These include:

  • Getting easily confused.
  • Slow activity in terms of acting, speaking, thinking, or reading.
  • Neck pain or headaches that doesn't go away.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
  • The urge to vomit.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Mood changes.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.

Children with a brain injury may exhibit the same symptoms and signs as adults but it might be harder for children to let others know how they feel. If your child has sustained any blow to the head and you notice any changes in sleep patterns, the way that the child plays, loss of new skills, crankiness or irritability, tiredness, or changes in performance at school, you may need to consult with the child's medical team in order to discuss whether or not a TBI has occurred. There are many different functional changes that can affect language, thinking, sensation and emotions if a traumatic brain injury is diagnosed. They can also increase the risk for conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders that become more prominent with age.

No matter how it happens, a brain injury can be severe and can impact a child's ability to develop mentally and physically. It can be frustrating for parents who had every expectation that their child would grow up healthy and happy. When a brain injury occurs,it's common for parents to ask questions about whether or not this was preventable. If a severe brain injury was caused by another person's negligence, you may have grounds to file a legal claim against the responsible party with the help of a New York personal injury lawyer.

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