Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries occur when there is a forceful blow or jolt to the head. This causes damage to the tissues and arteries in the brain.
The symptoms and effects of a TBI often last for a long time, and some victims must manage them their entire life.
Information and statistics about TBIs
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the major causes of non-fatal traumatic brain injuries are falls, motor vehicle crashes and strikes to the head by an object. More than 280,000 accident victims require hospitalization for TBIs every year, and up to 90,000 of these have lifelong disabilities due to the injury. The annual costs related to TBIs is around $76 billion.
For those with moderate injuries, around 60% make a positive recovery and 25% have some sort of disability. For those with severe TBIs, around 30% have positive recoveries, 33% do not survive and the rest have multiple disabilities.
Short and long-term effects of brain injuries
The Mayo Clinic discusses that people with TBIs often experience physical and mental symptoms, and the specific ones vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. Immediate symptoms often include loss of consciousness, seizures, constant headaches, vomiting, confusion and slurred speech. Long-term effects may include issues related to intellect, behavior, emotions, senses and communication.
Treatment and rehabilitation
The initial treatment after an accident is usually emergency care to release swelling, maintain adequate blood and oxygen levels and prevent secondary damage. Surgery and medication are common during this stage.
Once the patient stabilizes, rehabilitation is usually necessary. This begins as inpatient services and continues on an outpatient basis. Some common rehab services include:
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Speech-language therapy
- Vocational counseling
- Recreational therapy
Brain injury victims often need a lot of support along the way. This may come in the form of support groups, caregivers and close interpersonal relationships.