Understanding Concussions and TBIs
Each year, at least 1.7 million TBIs occur as an isolated injury or along with other injuries. Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have serious and long-lasting health symptoms or disabilities, though they may not become apparent until hours, days, or even months later. The brain contains a sensitive network of nerves and arteries, and even light trauma could cause significant chemical changes inside the brain. Learn more about TBIs and how to prevent them below.
Do All Head Injuries Cause TBIs?
It is true that not all blows to the head cause TBIs. Concussions are often described as “mild” brain injuries if they are not immediately life-threatening, but they can still have a wide range of health effects without proper supervision and treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that a loss of consciousness longer than 30 seconds may indicate more significant intracranial injuries, but be aware that most concussions do not involve any loss of consciousness and can still cause various symptoms.
What Are the Health Risks of TBIs?
The severity and longevity of TBI symptoms can vary significantly, and may notice cognitive impairments, loss of sensations, or even emotional changes. Symptoms of a mild concussion usually resolve within a month, but if they persist or worsen it may be a sign of post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Depending on the severity of the TBI, risk for dementia or epilepsy may also increase. Long-term research suggests that repeated mild TBIs can lead to cumulative health effects.
How Can I Prevent Severe TBIs?
Mild concussions are fairly common sports injuries , so it is important to always wear a properly fitted helmet certified by the Snell Foundation. Do not use helmets for anything other than their intended purpose, as testing standards vary for different activities—a sports helmet will not necessarily provide adequate protection and support on a bicycle or other self-propelled vehicle.
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