What is traumatic brain injury?

With winter just around the corner, many people in Maryland face an increased risk of slip and fall injuries due to icy roads and sidewalks. This can lead to the development of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can have devastating consequences or even result in loss of life. The Mayo Clinic offers the following information on TBI, including what symptoms to look for.

Who’s at risk

While it’s true that head trauma can happen to anyone at any age, risk factors are actually higher for certain groups. For instance, children from birth to about age four have an increased risk, as do adults aged 60 or older. Men also have a higher instance of suffering from TBI than women, and young adults between 15 and 24 have a heightened risk. In addition to slip and fall injuries, TBI can also be caused by car crashes, acts of violence, and injuries during sports.

Signs of TBI

Symptoms of head trauma vary depending on whether the injury is considered mild, moderate, or severe. With mild TBI, symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, a disoriented feeling, problems remembering, and fatigue. With moderate or severe head trauma, be on the lookout for loss of consciousness, weakness in fingers and toes, persistent headache, convulsions, bouts of vomiting, and an inability to awaken from sleep.

Serious complications

More serious complications can also occur. For instance, some people may fall into a coma, which is a state of unconsciousness where a person is unaware of what’s happening around them. A person can also fall into a vegetative state. This occurs when many areas of the brain have damaged, which leads to certain reflexive behaviors (such as eye blinking) but an unawareness of surroundings. Other complications include damage to the blood vessels, seizures, and infections (which usually occur when the skull has been punctured).