3 Top Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury Causes

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are among the most diverse injuries a person can sustain. Ranging from mild to severe, TBIs can have a significant impact on the lives of the people who experience them. Traumatic brain injury causes and symptoms also vary dramatically depending on the age of the person and their level of injury.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is an injury that is caused by a blow or impact to the head. A TBI is identified as mild, moderate, or severe and is typically measured using the Glasgow Coma Scale. This scale, which provides a “practical method for assessment of impairment of conscious level in response to defined stimuli,” focuses on eye opening, verbal response, and motor response.

Traumatic brain injuries are divided into three main categories:

  • Closed Head Injuries — This variety of TBI is the most common, accounting for about 75% of all TBIs that occur annually.
  • Open-Wound Injuries — Often life-threatening, this type of injury results when something hits the head with enough force to penetrate and fracture the skull.
  • Crushing Head Injuries — Although this is the least common variety of TBI, it is also the most severe and life-threatening.

Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Mild traumatic brain injuries can result in a variety of short- and long-term symptoms, including blurry vision, confusion, and lethargy. Although the specific effects will differ for each person, there are a wide range of symptoms that can impact a person’s emotions, linguistic capabilities, sensory functions, and cognitive abilities.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), severe traumatic brain injuries can result in symptoms that include:

  • Amnesia
  • Loss of consciousness (coma)
  • Loss of cognitive functions (memory, attention, etc.)
  • Numbness or loss of motor function in extremities
  • Pupil dilation
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

Is a TBI Different Than a Concussion?

In a nutshell, concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury. Mild TBIs are frequently referred to as concussions. According to the CDC, “about 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.” Though classified as mild, repeated concussions can cause permanent damage.

Traumatic brain injury causes can vary greatly depending on the age of the person. Below, we identify some of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury and concussions for people in the United States:

3 Leading Traumatic Brain Injury Causes

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website ranks the top three traumatic brain injury causes as falling, being hit by or against something, and automobile accidents. Other common causes of TBIs include sports-related injuries and assaults. The leading causes of TBIs for military members include assaults, blasts, bullets, falls, fragments, motor vehicle accidents and rollovers, and sports.

1. Falling

According to the aforementioned CDC website, falls were the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and accounted for 47% of all traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in 2013. These types of injuries disproportionately affected people 14 years of age and younger, and adults over age 65 in that year.

2. Being Struck in the Head

Among the top brain injury causes is being hit by or against an object. This type of head injury can occur when someone is assaulted, an object falls on or collides with their head, or they are otherwise struck.

3. Motor Vehicle Crashes

The CDC ranked automobile accidents as the last of the top three leading causes of traumatic brain injury-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in 2013. These injuries often result from being in or on a vehicle, such as a car or a motorcycle, or by being a pedestrian that is struck by one.

To learn more about traumatic brain injury causes and symptoms, emergency interventions and treatment, complications, and legal issues, be sure to download our complimentary resource by clicking on the link below.

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Topics: Accidents, Traumatic Brain Injury

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