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TBI, Brain Injury Leading Cause Of Death, Disability

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Just recently, R&B singer Usher's stepson was left with no brain activity after a jetski collided with the inner tube he was floating on in a Georgia Lake. A female companion also on the tube suffered a head injury from the collision.

Traumatic brain injury can be caused by a blow to the head, sudden movement of the head, an explosion or bruising that leads to bleeding and pressure on the brain. How severe the head or brain injury is depends greatly on the intensity of the impact or force involved.

Car accidents, falls, sports injuries, violent acts and combat injuries are common precursors to traumatic brain injury. Individuals in their twenties are most likely to get a head injury during a car or other motor vehicle accident whereas older and younger adults tend to suffer TBI from a fall.

Classic symptoms that may indicated a head injury occurred include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Paralysis

TBI can result in personality changes to the injured person, cognitive disabilities and sensory changes. Treatment and rehabilitation after a traumatic brain injury are key steps toward limiting the extent of the head injury and regaining physical and mental capacity afterward. Rehabilitation may allow those who have lost speech, mobility or memory due to a TBI regain all or a portion of what was lost.

Source: Physics Today, "The mechanics of traumatic brain injury," July, 2012

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