that 1.4 million Americans will experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) this
year, leading to 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths each year in the
United States alone. These injuries may be mild to serious, and can lead to
permanent mental damage and even death.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and Frazier Rehab Institute is working to increase awareness across the Commonwealth of the signs and symptoms of a brain injury.
“Traumatic brain injuries result from a bump, blow or jolt
to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain,” said Darryl
Kaelin, MD, Frazier Rehab Institute Medical Director, and Physical Medical and
Rehabilitation Division Chief at University of Louisville Physicians. “They
have become increasingly common in adults and children, so it’s important to
understand how to determine if a person is at risk for, or suffering from, a
are many causes of TBI, with falls proving to be the most common. Falls
disproportionately affect the youngest and oldest age groups. Other leading
causes include an unintentional blunt trauma, like being hit by an object, and
motor vehicle accidents.
are classified as mild, moderate or severe. Victims can display a wide variety
of physical, cognitive and sensory symptoms, which can help classify the
severity of the injury. About 75 percent of TBIs that occur each year are
concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Concussions
can appear right away or days or months after the injury.
or children experiencing a concussion typically display loss of consciousness
for seconds to a few minutes, a state of being dazed or confused, headache,
nausea or vomiting, drowsiness or difficulty sleeping, dizziness and loss of
balance. These victims may also experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears,
a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell. They can show
signs of mood swings, depression or anxious behavior.
to moderate brain injuries include symptoms such as loss of consciousness for
several minutes to hours, severe headaches, repeated vomiting, convulsions or
seizures, pupil dilation, fluids draining from the nose and eyes, weakness or
numbness in fingers and toes and loss of coordination. Victims may display
profound confusion, slurred speech, agitation or combativeness, and in extreme
cases, they will become comatose.
with severe TBIs will likely require hospitalization. Severe TBIs can result in
coma or amnesia after injury. These injuries can lead to death or lasting brain
damage. Approximately 5.3 million Americans live with a TBI-related disability.
“Traumatic brain injuries can affect all aspects of the patient’s life, and the lives of their friends and family,” said Dr. Kaelin. “Disabilities that develop from traumatic brain injuries can inhibit the victim’s ability to drive, complete household tasks, maintain employment and even uphold relationships. Our goal is to provide customized treatment and help restore patients to their fullest potential of independence.”
If you or someone in your care experiences a blow to the head, it is important to see a doctor right away. Do not wait for traumatic brain injury symptoms to occur.
If you or a loved one has a concussion or think you may, call the Frazier Rehab Brain Injury Program at 502.582.7476.