March has been designated brain injury awareness month by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).
Brain injuries can affect a person’s cognitive abilities, emotional responses, and overall personality. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result when a person experiences a blow to the head, or from a penetrating injury (for example, a gunshot wound).
TBI is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. According to Brain Injury Centre Canada, TBI is sustained by: 1) Falls (35.2% – often experienced by children and the elderly); 2) Traffic Collisions (17.3%); 3) Struck By/Against Events (16.5% – including many workplace accidents); 4) Assaults (10%); and Other/Unknown Incidents (21%).
Although motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of TBI, they result in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths in the United States (31.8%).
Unfortunately, TBI is not always recognized initially, as a person who has suffered TBI may not display any overt physical symptoms. Cognitive symptoms may not appear for weeks after the inciting event. Even emergency room tests such as CT scans and MRIs can miss the evidence of brain injury. However, if the person returns to their everyday life and finds concentrating, remembering, and other mental tasks to be difficult, an immediate diagnosis from specialized brain injury professionals should be sought.
The Brain Injury Association of Canada estimates that about 1.4 million Canadians are living with an acquired brain injury. Many require long-term or lifelong aid in performing daily activities as a result. Living with TBI can make reintegration to society difficult, both in terms of employment and social life.
Treatment and rehabilitation can be expensive, particularly when long-term care is required. It is estimated that brain injuries accounted for $151.7 million in direct costs to Canadians, in 2000-2001.
In honour of Brain Injury Awareness Month, we urge everyone to educate themselves on this prevalent – yet often overlooked – condition. You can follow the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #TBI.
>> If you or a family member has suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of an accident or vehicle collision in Ontario, you can seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer to help ease the financial burden. Contact us today for immediate support and a free consultation.
(Image source: http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/images/new_pie.gif)