CDC offers helpful info on TBIs amid upcoming football season, winter months

Traumatic brain injuries-those that disrupt brain function as a result of an injury to the head-can occur in a range of situations. Motor vehicle accidents, outdoor slip-and-falls during winter months, and sporting events are just a few instances when TBIs can happen.

However, individuals-particularly parents with kids entering a new school year and participating in fall sporting events-should be aware of the dangers of TBIs and how even unsuspecting head injuries can be life-threatening.

Awareness

Many people associate traumatic brain injuries with open head wounds and lots of blood-thanks to movies depicting such acts. These are often called penetrating TBIs which can occur from a sharp object or bullet penetration to the skull. However, many TBIs don’t happen this way and don’t have these physical attributes-but are just as dangerous.

Concussions are a prime example. They are a type of TBI that occurs when a bump or hit to the head happens due to a fall or collision with the body, like during a sporting event or head-on collision from an automobile. However, many times, they reveal no outside physical features. They are referred to as closed TBIs. One would never suspect a serious problem by just looking at a person with a closed concussion unless they were aware of the circumstances.

CDC launches Heads Up initiative

Because of the unsuspecting nature of these injuries, the Centers for Disease Control has launched Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports, an initiative that educates coaches and parents with kids involved in contact sports regarding TBIs.

Part of the campaign includes providing the public with an online tool kit. The kit includes information about:

  • Ways to prevent concussions.
  • How to recognize concussions.
  • How to respond appropriately to concussions.

Victims of auto accidents

Along with contact sports, individuals involved in auto accidents also sustain concussions-many due to head-on vehicle collisions.

Two cars collide head-on and the force, depending on how fast each vehicle was traveling, causes the drivers and passengers to jerk forward or backward, or make contact with an object inside the vehicle. This jolt or contact causes the brain to shift back and forth inside the skull. Bruising, internal bleeding and swelling can occur. Failure to seek treatment, even for an unsuspecting head injury, can result in a permanent loss of cognitive or motor function among others.

The CDC recommends individuals involved in any auto accident-even those with minor bumps to the head-seek immediate treatment.

Approximately 1.7 individuals sustain a traumatic brain injury every year in the United States. With continued campaigns and awareness, hopefully, this number will decrease in the years to come.