What is a Traumatic Brain Injury? (TBI)
Also known as a TBI, a traumatic brain injury can be caused by any type of blow to the head. A concussion is one type of TBI, most commonly associated with sports, however there are many types of accidents that can cause a person to suffer a TBI.
What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
There can be several serious consequences that stem from any brain injury. These symptoms may include:
- Memory problems
- Speech impairment
- Perception difficulties
- Communication difficulties
- Spastic muscles
- Mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
How are Concussions and TBIs Treated?
In extreme cases, a traumatic brain injury could cause internal bleeding, and may require surgery to alleviate pressure. Those who suffered a traumatic brain injury may also need treatments from various specialists. These specialists could include:
- Speech pathologist
- Physical therapist
- And a variety of therapy services.
What is a Concussion?
A person suffering a concussion may be knocked unconscious, or experience confusion for a few seconds. Usually, the brain is able to recover from a concussion, but even with today’s research, it is not clear how much force is needed to permanently damage the brain.
Concussions can also be mild or more severe:
- Grade 1 – These are mild concussions, and the person does not lose consciousness. They may seem dazed or confused instead
- Grade 2 – These are severe concussions, but the person still does not lose consciousness. Instead, there is a period of confusion and they will not recall what happened
- Grade 3 – These are the most severe concussions. The person likely loses consciousness for a short period of time, and they have no recollection of the impact
How Many People Are Hospitalized With Concussions Each Year?
It is estimated that concussions are responsible for over 600,000 emergency room visits each year.
What is a Diffuse Axonal Injury? (DAI)
Nerve cells in the brain communicate with other, distant, nerve cells through fibers called ‘axons.’ These axons make up the brain’s white matter. In cases of a whiplash accident, these fibers can twist, stretch or become damaged
When these axonal fibers are damaged, doctors refer to the injury as a Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI). DAIs are usually caused by severe whiplash injuries, and the patient often becomes comatose.
What is a Direct Impact Injury?
Whenever an impact is so forceful that the skull fractures, it can cause a severe brain injury. This is known as a direct impact injury. The object causing the impact does necessarily have to go through the skull. Instead, the force can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull.
Direct impact injuries can happen whenever the skull makes contact with an object. When the moving skulls comes to a sudden stop (or impact), the brain continues its movement and hits the interior of the skull. This often causes the brain and bleed internally.
What is a Hypoxia Injury?
Hypoxia occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. This can be the result of:
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Head trauma
- Complications of general anesthesia
- Cardiac arrest
Since brain cells require a regular source of oxygen, they can become irreversibly damaged within minutes. Hypoxia lasting longer than five minutes can often put a person in a coma, or even lead to brain death.
What is an Indirect Impact Injury?
Unlike a direct impact injury, an indirect impact injury does not require an outside object to strike the skull. Any violent shaking of the head, neck and spine can damage the sensitive nerve cells in the brain. Whiplash is an example of an indirect impact.
What is a Hematoma?
Whenever blood collects in the brain, it can cause severe damage. If a blood clot develops outside the dura (the membrane that envelops the brain) it is known as an epidural hematoma. When a blood clot develops between the dura and the brain, it is called a subdural hematoma.
Both of these conditions can cause a person to experience symptoms of a brain injury.
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