Brain injuries are more common than some may realize. In Maryland and throughout the United States, approximately 61,000 people die from brain trauma every year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That equates to 166 deaths daily.
The CDC also reports that car accidents are the second-leading cause of brain injury deaths in the country. From fender benders to more serious collisions, an unexpected impact can cause damage to the delicate tissue of the brain and leave the victim with potential long-term damage.
How do brain injuries occur?
The soft brain tissue sits suspended in the skull cavity surrounded by fluid. A sudden jolt or impact can cause brain bleeding, inflammation and bruising. Injuries may also occur if an object is propelled into the air, pierces the hard skull bone and penetrates the brain tissue. Even a slight bump to the back of a car can cause whiplash and subsequent brain trauma.
What are the signs of a brain injury?
The signs of a brain injury may differ depending on what area of the brain is affected, and how much damage is done. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, signs of mild to moderate brain injuries include the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- Dizziness and confusion
- Blurred vision, droopy eyes or ringing in the ears
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in mood or behavior
More severe brain trauma involves more persistent headaches, nausea and vomiting, tingling in the extremities, muscle weakness, seizures, slurred speech and increased confusion.
It is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible following an accident, as even mild brain trauma can lead to long-term issues. A multi-disciplinary team of professionals can help to diagnose brain injuries and customize a treatment plan.