The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently submitted a report to Congress addressing the prevalence of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in the U.S., the implications of these injuries for those affected, and available data related to the effectiveness of TBI rehabilitation. Understanding the prevailing causes of these injuries, as well as the long-term consequences, informs our discussion of the many legal issues that may arise when you or someone you love suffers an injury of this kind.
“The Report to Congress on Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Epidemiology and Rehabilitation,” first presents some startling statistics about traumatic brain injuries in recent years, estimating that TBI’s accounted for approximately 2.2 million emergency department visits, 280,000 hospitalizations, and 50,000 deaths in the United States in 2010. According to the CDC, however, these numbers do not accurately reflect the actual number of traumatic brain injuries, as they fail to account for the individuals who did not receive medical treatment, those who were treated on an outpatient basis, or patients who received treatment at a federal facility (such as those serving in the U.S. military).
As for those most likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury, children below the age of 4, teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, and adults over the age of 75, represent the most affected populations. The leading causes of TBI-related medical visits were falls, being struck by or against an object, and motor-vehicle traffic crashes. Although there are no accurate estimates of TBI’s caused by sports and recreation-related activities, these incidents have been well-documented during bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball, and soccer among those 19 and younger.
Perhaps most astoundingly, TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths have increased 45% since 2007. Further, the number of TBI injuries resulting from sports and recreation-related activities increased an estimated 62% percent between 2001 and 2009, compelling a maelstrom of media coverage, public education campaigns, and legislation aimed at addressing this issue among athletes, parents, coaches, and medical professionals.
The critical message conveyed through all of this data is that traumatic brain injuries are undiscerning in their application, as they can affect those young and old, and can occur under a vast array of circumstances. Whether you or someone you love suffers a slip-and-fall, takes a hit during a sporting event, is involved in a car accident, or suffers a brain injury during child birth, the long-term consequences can be severe. With cognitive impairments, functional limitations, behavioral and emotional problems, these injuries can create significant impediments that may prevent your ability to work, learn, and resume your regular activities.
Although you may be faced with challenges ranging from anxiety and depression to loss of memory, movement, and sensation after a traumatic brain injury, it is important to know that you are not alone. In fact, if the negligence of a medical professional, product manufacturer, driver, hospital, or other party contributed to your injuries, you can seek the compensation necessary to facilitate a positive road to recovery. Please feel free to contact Fronzuto Law Group anytime to learn more.