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Do you know the facts about traumatic brain injuries?

Many people here in Tennessee do not understand how commonly adults and children are affected by a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can result in death or severe problems that could linger for days or last a lifetime. Of all the deaths that occur from injuries in the United States, traumatic brain injuries contribute to 30 percent of those.

Traumatic brain injuries have been receiving more press lately in relation to the risk of a head injury while playing sports. The CDC reports that the rate of emergency room visits related to head injuries from sports and recreation activities among children increased by 57 percent from 2001 to 2009. Although many of the diagnoses related to a mild concussion instead of a more severe brain injury, several concussions over the course of a person's lifetime can increase the risk of future brain injury and may have harmful lasting effects.

The most common causes of a traumatic brain injury are falls, blunt trauma to the head, car crashes and assaults. Risk factors related to death resulting from a traumatic brain injury include being male and being over the age of 65, as men are three times as likely to suffer death as the result of a brain injury and the elderly have the highest rate of TBI-related death.

Due to the risk of permanent disability and lasting problems from a head injury, it is important to get treated for a suspected head injury as soon as possible after the injury occurs. Making it a practice to protect one's head by wearing a helmet when reasonable can also help reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Fact Sheet," last accessed on July 15, 2014

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