Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occurs when an external force (like a blow to the head) damages the brain. Traumatic brain injuries are known as a ‘silent epidemic’; 69 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from it. This condition is actually rather prevalent in South East Asian countries.

1) Falling

The number one leading cause of traumatic brain injuries are falls. This is especially the case for children and the elderly. Children aged 14 and below account for 50% of TBI causes while those above the age of 65 account for 60% of TBI.

These falls can be caused from anything like slipping on a wet floor, to falling out of bed and tripping on uneven steps. However, for elderly individuals falls may additionally be a result of diseases such as dementia and experiencing dizziness from hypertension.

Factors that further contribute to your risk factor of falling are Vitamin D deficiency, alcohol or drug use, side vision issues, foot pain, joint pain, weak knees, poor footwear, and home hazards.

2) Vehicle Collisions

Vehicle collisions are the leading cause of TBI related deaths and hospitalizations. It is also the leading cause of death for people aged 5-25 years. Whiplash, a neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, can be especially severe and lead to a TBI if not careful.

Driving while drunk, distractions (i.e. texting), speeding, and inexperience are all common causes of vehicle collisions also. Teenagers, especially boys, are more prone to vehicular crashes. However, the crash rate can be lowered up to 75% if an adult is in the passenger seat.

3) Struck By Or Against An Object

Struck by/against an object includes colliding with a moving or stationary object such as falling debris or being unintentionally hit by another person. Examples are being hit by falling storage boxes, TV and furniture tip-overs, walking into open drawers and opening a door into someone.

At 25%, It is the second leading cause of TBI among children aged 14 years and below. These days, using smartphones while walking significantly contributes to these accidents too.

4) Assault

In the general population, assault accounts for 10% of TBIs. Incidences of violence include gunshot wounds, domestic violence and child abuse. However, violence is not just the cause, but also an effect of TBI.

The injuries can cause significant cognitive and behavioral problems which can result in aggressive behavior that leads to perpetration of violence, a lack of insight and judgment, and resulting in overall vulnerability which can lead to victimization.

5) Sports Injury

You might think of dangerous sports like boxing and mixed martial arts as the main culprits, but a fair number of other sports contribute to TBI as well. This includes football, field/ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, rugby, soccer, wrestling, auto racing, cycling, equestrian, roller blading, skateboarding, skiing, or snowboarding.

Some of these repeated head injuries do not appear till later in life. For example, Dementia Pugilistica or Punch Drunk Syndrome, occurs after repeated blows to the head such as from boxing. Sufferers display symptoms of impaired cognition (thinking and remembering), slurred speech, loss of hearing and poor movement.

 

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