Sustaining a blow to the head is no laughing manner. Whether it is from a car accident, sports incident or a fall, the result is often a brain injury.
The severity of a traumatic brain injury can vary from mild to severe. Although mild cases generally have positive outcomes, victims who have moderate or severe injuries usually have to deal with the symptoms and consequences for life.
Prevalence and outcome of traumatic brain injuries
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, there are millions of Americans that live with a disability due to TBIs. Almost 90,000 people notice the onset of lifelong TBI disability every year, and the costs associated with brain injuries are more than $75 billion annually.
Most of those with mild TBIs have positive outcomes. However, those with moderate or severe TBIs do not fare as well. Among those with moderate traumatic brain injuries, around 60% have positive outcomes, around 25% will have moderate disabilities and up to 10% result in death. The rest experience severe disability. Among those with severe TBIs, up to 33% have positive outcomes, around 33% die and the remaining cases have moderate or severe disabilities.
Symptoms and treatment of TBIs
The Mayo Clinic discusses that patients with moderate and severe TBIs experience physical, mental and cognitive symptoms. Some examples include:
- Loss of coordination
- Persistent headaches
- Slurred speech
- Behavioral changes
- Learning difficulties
Most serious brain injuries require emergency care initially to maintain oxygen and blood supply levels and to prevent further injury. After stabilization, patients with significant injuries will need rehabilitation to relearn basic skills or be able to perform daily activities. The need for rehab and therapy may be only short-term, or it may be for life.