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Brain injury prevention month should be an all-year event

Although National Brain Injury Prevention Month only comes around again in March, awareness should be a year round campaign. Too many people suffer the consequences of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which is a primary cause of death and disability nationwide.

Brain injuries are not only traumatic for the victim but also for their loved ones. Regardless of whether the brain injury is mild or severe, it can have long-term consequences. If you suffer from such an injury, initial symptoms might include irritability, headaches, problems focusing and concentrating. You might be tempted to decline a medical examination immediately after an accident if you do not feel badly injured, but early diagnosis of brain trauma allows for proper treatment.

Types of brain injuries

Although not all brain injuries have life-long consequences, every incident can significantly affect you. The following points might help you understand the different types of brain injuries:

  • Mild: Concussions are mostly mild traumatic brain injuries that follow when the brain smashes into the inner walls of the skull during sports activities or car accidents. They typically heal within days, but repeated incidents could ultimately lead to more severe damage.
  • Moderate: These usually follow periods of unconsciousness after a blow to the head, and they could be life-threatening or fatal.
  • Major TBI: This is a two-stage injury that starts with the impact that causes the sudden movement of the brain, and the second stage involves the swelling of the injured brain in the limited space inside the skull. The resulting inflammation causes waves of dysfunction that spread throughout the brain.

Prevention

Until researchers can find a medical treatment to heel brain damage, note the following precautions to prevent brain injuries:

  • Never travel in a vehicle without fastening your seat belt. Also, strap any young children securely into weight- and age-appropriate car seats.
  • Avoid cell phone use or other distractions while driving, biking or walking.
  • Never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Avoid driving without the approval of your doctor if you suffer from seizures or another medical condition.
  • Always hold onto the handrails of stairways.
  • Wear appropriate protective headgear when you participate in contact sports.
  • Do not ride a skateboard, bicycle, ATV or a motorcycle without a helmet.
  • When you swim in unfamiliar places, jump in feet first. Never dive into pools that are shallower than 10 feet deep.
  • Make sure your footwear is slip-resistant at work or in winter weather.
  • Avoid standing on the top level of a stepladder.

Once you start thinking about "brain-safety," you will likely identify many more precautions that apply to your unique lifestyle and the activities in which you participate. However, you may not be able to prevent another person's negligence.

If you or a loved one suffered brain injuries in an event that involved no fault of your own, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you to pursue financial relief for past and future damages through the Montana civil justice system.

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