A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an often misunderstood and underestimated injury. When many people hit their heads, they often just rub the spots where they hit them and move on with their lives. Kids constantly hit their heads, and parents may brush them off with kisses. However, any type of blow to the head has the potential to cause a TBI.
A TBI occurs when a violent impact or jolt damages brain tissue by knocking it against the inside of the skull. Brain injuries can range from mild—often referred to as concussions—to severe. Extended loss of consciousness is one sign of a more severe brain injury, which may even leave permanent effects.
Make sure a doctor diagnoses even a mild TBI to ensure that you receive necessary treatments and protect yourself from further injuries. Diagnosis is also important because brain injury symptoms are difficult to identify and can frustrate a victim by interfering with normal functioning. You may feel out of it, suffer memory issues, feel irritable, or have difficulty processing information—even with a simple concussion. Once a doctor diagnoses you, you can better recognize the symptoms and adjust your life accordingly.
According to reports by the Mayo Clinic, the three highest-risk groups for brain injuries are young children, teens and young adults, and senior citizens older than 75. The following factors increase these populations’ TBI risks.
Children younger than four are still developing their movement abilities. They must learn to stand up, walk, run, skip, ride a tricycle, and get used to other physical activities. During this process, even the most vigilant parents will have children who fall down and hit their heads.
In addition, adults can put small children in places from which they can fall. Infants or toddlers can fall from changing tables, high chairs, and other furniture. Daycare or school staff may leave children on changing tables unattended, even for one second, and children may roll off onto the floor. In these situations, children will almost certainly hit their heads. Shaking a baby can also result in a serious—or even fatal—brain injuries.
The brains of small children are still developing, so any degree of brain injury can cause lasting damage and changes in how they grow and develop. For this reason, have a doctor properly diagnose brain injuries so you can identify any issues your child may have as a result of the TBI.
Teens and Young Adults
As children reach their teen years, they can develop many interests that involve physical activity. Almost every sport comes with some risk of a brain injury—even in golf, you have a chance that a golf ball will hit you in the head. Some sports have a much higher risk of sustaining a concussion, including football, hockey, soccer, and boxing. If your teenager participates in any of these sports, be aware that they are at serious risk of brain injuries. Negligent coaches, trainers, and other supervisors can increase the TBI risk for young athletes by:
- Not providing adequate helmets and safety equipment
- Allowing rough play
- Not enforcing safety rules
- Pushing participants past their skill or age levels
- Not providing prompt medical attention for those who hit their heads
- Having unsafe facilities or equipment
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this particular risk group spans from age 15 to 24. During these years, young adults and teens can feel invincible and can engage in reckless behavior that can increase their risk of falling or getting hit by objects. Even though this group is older than young children and may seem grown-up, the brain continues to develop through adolescence and young adulthood and a TBI can still have lasting effects.
Seniors Older Than 75
As many of us age, we may lose balance, coordination, muscle strength, and quickness of reflexes. This makes falling down a serious risk for adults older than 75. These falls may result in seniors hitting their heads on the ground or other objects, resulting in TBIs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this age group has the highest rates of the following after sustaining brain injuries:
- Emergency department visits
TBIs are common among this group and they can have severe effects. Many seniors who suffer serious brain injuries never fully recover and may need to relocate to assisted living facilities.
Know Your Rights
The leading causes of brain injuries include motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports accidents, and violence. If the negligence or wrongdoing of another party causes a TBI, victims have the right to seek payment for their medical expenses and any other losses. If you are not sure whether you have the right to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, discuss your situation with an attorney who can evaluate your case.
Learn More From Our Chicago Brain Injury Attorneys Today
At the law firm of Abels & Annes, we have seen the serious effects of traumatic brain injuries on our clients. We can examine what happened and advise you regarding your legal options. While a legal case cannot turn back time and take away the effects of your injuries, it can help you move forward with the compensation you deserve. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please call (312) 924-7575 or contact us online.