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Understand the causes and types of traumatic brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries occur when there is sudden damage to the brain. It could be caused by a jolt or blow to the head. The injury doesn't have to penetrate the skull to result in a TBI.

When the initial injury occurs, that first impact is known as the primary injury. Following this, there is a risk of secondary injuries. Secondary injuries occur when there is delayed trauma, such as swelling on the brain.

What are some causes of traumatic brain injuries?

Some common causes of traumatic brain injuries include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Falls
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Car crashes
  • Assaults

How are traumatic brain injuries classified?

Traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate or severe. With a mild brain injury, the person usually remains awake but may be confused or disoriented. Moderate injuries can result in a loss of consciousness up to six hours long. They may be lethargic but should still open their eyes when stimulated. Severe injuries generally knock a person unconscious for over six hours. They will not respond to stimulation in any way.

What are the types of traumatic brain injuries?

While the term "traumatic brain injury" might make you assume that there is only one kind of injury, there are actually many types. These include:

  • Hematomas, which are blood clots on the brain
  • Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is bleeding into the space around the brain
  • Diffuse axonal injuries, which happen when the brain moves back and forth quickly inside the skull, damaging the nerves through shearing and stretching
  • Contusions, which are bruises to specific parts of the brain
  • Concussions, which are mild head injuries resulting a short loss of consciousness

While it's normal to classify injuries into these types and explain them individually, the reality is that patients generally suffer from two or more of these injuries at the same time. They may, for example, have a concussion and also be suffering from a hematoma or hemorrhage that has to be addressed.

Patients with these injuries need immediate medical care. Early intervention can help prevent severe secondary injuries, which can improve the prognoses for the patients. There is no way to be sure how a brain injury will affect you at the time of the accident or trauma, but over time, you will see how it may affect you. With that knowledge, you may be able to make a claim against the person who harmed you, so that you may possibly get the appropriate amount of compensation.

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