The brain is the single most powerful organ in the human body. Home to our thoughts, feelings, imaginations, and ideas, it is the human brain that has helped mankind become the dominant species on planet Earth, allowing for incredible innovations and the founding of the global societies and civilizations we know today.
It’s an extraordinary organ, but it’s also a very delicate and fragile one, and the human body, along with the bodies of many other species, has evolved in order to try and protect it from damage. Along with the skull, which is one of the strongest bones in the body, the brain is also encased with layers of protective liquid that are designed to absorb shocks and impacts to prevent damage.
Unfortunately, even with these strong natural defenses, the brain can be injured quite easily, and there are said to be 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) each and every year in the United States alone. This guide will provide some answers to common questions you may have on the subject of TBIs, including causes and symptoms.
What is a TBI?
We’ll begin with a simple TBI definition. A TBI or traumatic brain injury is any kind of injury that results in damage of some sort to the brain itself. This most commonly takes the form of a blow or impact to the head, but TBIs can occur in other situations too, like when the entire body is subjected to an immense force or flung forward at high speed.
What Are the Causes of a TBI?
There are many potential causes of a TBI, and TBI patients can have many different stories to tell about how they got their injuries. As explained above, any sort of injury that leads to damage to the brain can be classed as a TBI, and some common causes of these injuries are listed below:
- Auto Accidents – When cars and other vehicles collide with one another or other objects, drivers and passengers can feel the consequences, especially when traveling at high speed. In an auto accident, a driver might be flung forward and hit their head against the steering wheel, dashboard, or windscreen, resulting in serious damage to the brain.
- Sporting Accidents – It’s quite common for TBIs to occur on sporting fields too, especially in contact sports like football, hockey, and boxing, and many professional athletes have had to deal with concussions and long-term brain damage throughout their professional careers, which has generated a lot of controversies and inspired the development of new safety rules and standards in many sports.
- Physical Violence – There are also situations in which people suffer a TBI after being assaulted or attacked by another person. A blow to the head can be enough to do long-lasting damage to the brain or cause mild to moderate concussions, and there are cases in which domestic abuse sufferers experience traumatic brain injuries too.
What Rights Do I Have After a TBI?
The legal situation regarding TBIs is always evolving as more is discovered about these injuries and the tragic and dramatic effects they can have on people’s lives, and your exact legal rights after this kind of injury will generally depend on the nature of the accident or incident that led to the injury in the first place.
You may be able to speak with a traumatic brain injury attorney and begin a claim if your TBI was caused by the recklessness, negligence, or violence of another party. For example, if you suffered an injury at work or in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to compensation. It’s wise to consult with a lawyer to learn more about the specifics of these cases.
What are the Symptoms of TBI?
The symptoms of a TBI can vary, depending on the nature and severity of the injury itself. In the mildest cases, patients might lose consciousness briefly and may suffer from mild headaches or troubling vision for a short period of time, but will recover relatively quickly without the need for much or any medical treatment.
In more serious cases, the consequences can be much graver. Some TBI patients may remain unconscious for longer periods. They may have recurring headaches, migraines, feelings of nausea, vomiting, chills, and other physical problems. They may also suffer cognitive issues like a loss of memory and loss of some of their most basic cognitive abilities. TBIs can also lead to mental health side effects, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
A TBI can be a life-changing injury, which is why it’s wise to educate yourself on the risks and take preventative measures to avoid these injuries, such as wearing helmets while playing sports and driving safely to prevent auto accidents.
*Photos by Anna Shvets