Brain Injury Awareness Month: Know the Facts and Understand the Risks

a doctor looking at brain mri images

For over 30 years, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has observed Brain Injury Awareness Month in March. The goal is to raise awareness of brain injuries and the effect they can have on you. The BIAA provides expertise and data related to disease management, research, diagnosis, and treatments. They also provide information about how brain injuries can affect quality of life, and are the most influential lobbying organization for policy change around brain injuries. 

Brain Injury Awareness Month is meant to help reduce the stigma around brain injuries and provide educational materials to the public. Along with spreading awareness, the BIAA raises funds for those who are suffering from brain injuries and their families. The current campaign, which runs from 2021 to 2023, is called “More Than My Brain Injury.” The concept behind the campaign is that sufferers can be empowered with the right support and stigmatization. 

One of the other goals of the annual campaign is to raise awareness about brain injuries to help people avoid sustaining them in the future. 

Traumatic Brain Injury

There are over 3.5 million people in the United States who are currently living their lives with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This means that they have suffered trauma to the brain that has damaged their brain pathology. These injuries can involve no exterior damage to the brain, or direct, penetrating damage to the brain. 

So many people are affected by TBI that it has become one of the most common causes of disability in the United States. Many of our clients at Henderson Law suffer from incidents that cause TBI, such as: 

  • Falls
  • Being struck by something, or striking the head on something
  • Automobile and motorcycle accidents
  • Assaults

In most cases, the damage from TBI is mild. Mild is defined as a momentary loss of consciousness or a change in mental ability. These can commonly be classified as concussions. Even if they are mild, too many concussions over time can lead to severe brain issues, such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  More serious injuries can cause loss of memory or a longer period of unconsciousness. When this happens, the victim may have long-term brain function issues that seriously affect their quality of life and could lead to premature death. 

How to Protect Yourself Against Brain Injury

There are several things that you can do every day to reduce your risk of suffering from a traumatic brain injury. For instance, when you are driving or riding in a car, wear your seatbelt to avoid hitting the windshield if you get in an accident. You should also wear a helmet if you ride a motorcycle. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Children should always be strapped into a car seat or booster seat that has been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If they are on a bicycle, tricycle, or a motorbike, they should be wearing a helmet in case of an accident. Install safety gates above stairs to avoid falls, and make sure that there is soft padding on the floor of play rooms and areas. 

Older adults are at a higher risk of TBI from slips and falls. If you or a loved one is still living at home as a senior, make sure that bathrooms have non-slip rugs, and tubs have handles for getting up and down and for balance. All stairways should have a railing and non-slip runners on each individual step. 

Car Accidents and TBI

Car accidents are a major cause of brain injury, and it’s no wonder why. When a car is struck by another vehicle, the occupants can be shaken around violently. The head can strike the dashboard, steering wheel, or the window. Even if the head doesn’t strike anything, the brain can be shaken inside the head hard enough to impact against the skull. 

Concussions are very common in car accidents. They are usually non-fatal and only require rest to get over them. However, in some cases a victim may need to seek treatment from a medical professional. Whiplash is also very common. This happens when the head violently jerks backward because of a rear end collision, and then jerks forward because of momentum. 

With car injuries a unique injury can occur because of the nature of accidents and the speed at which vehicles can travel. A coup-contrecoup TBI is a brain injury that involves both sides of the brain. You can get injured from the head impacting something, such as the steering wheel. Then, as the head whips back, the brain will strike the other side of the skull, causing another injury. 

When the brain is injured or suffers from bruising, you may need immediate medical attention. Brain bruises can lead to swelling of the brain, which must be eased quickly to avoid having too much pressure built up within the skull. If the skull is penetrated by an object, such as the glass from a windshield or the steering wheel, then it can come directly into contact with the brain. These types of injuries can also cause damage and swelling, and must be alleviated through surgery. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI from a car accident, slip and fall, assault, or any other situation where someone else may be liable, then contact the expert team of personal injury attorneys at Henderson Law. We can build the strongest case possible to help you get the compensation you deserve for your injury. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss how we can help you.