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What is Tramatic Brain Injury?
Brain injury is any injury to the brain. Sometimes it is referred to as a TBI - traumatic brain injury. This means that it is caused by a blow or jolts to the head or is a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Frequently you will hear the term ABI - acquired brain injury. This simply means a brain injury which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative. What ever the term assigned, a brain injury is a devastating and life changing event.
The most frequent cause of brain injury in the US is falls. In Kentucky, the most frequent cause of brain injury and brain injury related death is motor vehicle traffic accidents. Teens, especially male are the most likely to sustain a brain injury or die of a brain injury because of a motor vehicle accident. Teens in Kentucky make up 1 in 10 deaths on Kentucky highways and one in 6 of the severe injuries.
Other causes of brain injury include:
Illnesses such as infections, tumors, seizures, strokes, vein disorders
Alcoholism and substance abuse
Too little oxygen to the brain from heart attack, near suffocation or drowning
Most injuries are the result of bleeding, twisting or tearing of brain tissue, known as shearing. Changes in the individual who suffers a brain injury depend on where the brain is injured.
Brain injuries are called mild, moderate and severe. Over 75% of all brain injuries are mild. Most people who experience mild brain injury have no loss of consciousness or very brief loss – less than 15 minutes. They may be dazed, have a vacant stare but have a normal neurological exam. Often people with mild brain injury do not even go to the hospital to seek treatment. Some symptoms may not appear until later. A moderate brain injury is one that results in a loss of consciousness that can last minutes or a few hours and is followed by a few days or weeks on confusion. Severe brain injury almost always results in prolonged unconsciousness or coma lasting days, weeks or even longer.