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What are the most common and most severe causes of brain injury?


Most Californians are familiar with traumatic brain injuries because of their high profile the last few years, especially with returning veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and with certain athletes such as professional football players. These severe injuries can have a devastating impact on the lives of victims and their families. Those with brain injuries often suffer cognitive problems in addition to physical problems; either type can leave a person temporarily or permanently disabled. Recovery from such injuries is also not guaranteed. Doctors can only prevent injuries from getting worse.

What are the most common causes of TBIs? Falls are the principal cause of brain injuries for young children and older adults. They are common in the home environment. They can be prevented by installing handrails in areas where falls commonly occur such as bathrooms. Motor vehicle accidents also produce severe head injuries to drivers and passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. To minimize the chance of brain injuries, drivers and passengers should always use seat and lap restraints and motorcycle riders and bicyclists should wear helmets.

What events cause the worst types of brain injuries? Violent actions cause the worst TBIs. An estimated 20 percent of brain injuries are caused by gunshot trauma and domestic violence incidents, including child abuse. War-zone trauma also causes severe TBIs. Contact sports such as football and ice hockey also produce many traumatic brain injuries - more than most other sports. Unfortunately, researchers are discovering that helmets offer only limited protection.

Anyone who has sustained a TBI or other brain injury due to recklessness or negligence on the part of another person may be entitled to compensation. Those who have sustained brain injuries after car collisions, for example, often can seek damages from the driver responsible for the accident through a personal injury claim.

Source: Mayoclinic.org, "Traumatic brain injury," Accessed on Feb. 1, 2015

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