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Brooks Schuelke
Brooks Schuelke
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Brain Injury 4-1-1

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Last time we took a look at the leading causes of brain injuries. No doubt you may have a few questions…

Who is most susceptible to this type of injury?

Males between the ages of 15 and 24 are most likely to sustain a brain injury. Men are 2 to 3 times more likely to receive this type of injury because they tend to engage in activities that make them more vulnerable. A majority of these injuries are the result of motorcycle and vehicle accidents. Since men make accident insurance claims more often than women, the result is high insurance premiums. Studies also show that young men are more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as fighting, contact sports, or manual labor.

What are the symptoms of a brain injury?

The following are symptoms that may indicate injury:

· Memory loss and confusion

· Vomiting

· Dizziness

· Partial paralysis or numbness

· Shock

· Anxiety

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms following an accident or head trauma, please consult your doctor. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists symptoms separately for adults and children. The Brain Injury Resource Center also offers a “Brain Injury Checklist” that gives a more thorough self-evaluation to determine if you may have a brain injury.

What are the various levels of injury?

Once you have sustained a brain injury, it is best to immediately seek treatment. The appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of injury. Generally, there are two types of brain injuries: closed and penetrating brain injuries. The injuries within these two categories can range from mild to traumatic.

Closed brain injuries occur when there is no penetration to the brain, and, thus, the skull is intact and “closed.” These type of injuries tend to be mild, as they are most often not life threatening. However, the effects can be serious as even the smallest head injury can disrupt normal brain function. This category includes the most common type of brain injury, a concussion. Doctors often refer to concussions as closed head injuries because the injury occurs despite lack of penetration to the brain. These can often be difficult to diagnose as the signs of a closed head injury may be subtle. Although such injuries are usually accompanied by loss of consciousness, it is not always the case. If there are noticeable behavioral and emotional changes, these changes may be an indication of injury. These types of injuries generally stem from car accidents, falls, or Shaken Baby Syndrome.

A more severe kind of closed brain injury is acquired brain injury. This injury is damage to the brain occurring after birth. It occurs when a sudden, external, physical assault damages the brain and results in a cellular change in the brain caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. The causes for this type of injury include: suffocation, stroke, heart attack, lead exposure, or a crushed chest. InjuryBoard further discusses the various subcategories of an acquired brain injury.

The second type of head injury is penetrating brain injury. These are open head injuries that occur the moment there is a break in the skull, also known as a “skull fracture.” These can occur as a result of a bullet, knife, or any other sharp object. While not all skull fractures can lead to injury, most do. In fact, a skull fracture often causes bits of skull to and dirt to implant into the brain. This can lead to infection or swelling, causing further brain damage. Most of these injuries are considered to be “traumatic brain injuries.” For more on categories of traumatic brain injury, please visit InjuryBoard.