Maybe it has something to do with reckless bravado but men and boys are about 1.5 times more likely to sustain a brain injury than women and girls.
The two age groups with the highest risk for head injury are newborns to age 4 (shaken baby syndrome and other brain trauma) and 15 to 19 year olds (wild teenagers). Also men and women serving in the military face an increased risk for brain injuries as do the elderly with slip and falls.
Of the 1.4 million people who sustain a head injury about 50,000 die; 235,000 are hospitalized; and 1.1 million are treated and released. Approximately 475,000 brain injuries occur among children ages 0 to 14 years.
Nerve damage causes damage to facial nerves, such as facial paralysis or damage to the nerves responsible for eye movements, resulting in double vision.
Cognitive disabilities include thinking, reasoning, problem solving, information processing, and short term memory loss. An injured person recalls information prior to the head trauma but has to struggle learning new information after the head trauma.
A person in a coma will be unconscious and unresponsive. The coma may last a few days or weeks. Some people gradually awaken, while others enter a vegetative state, or die.
It’s likely that people with head trauma will experience at least one seizure during the first week after the injury.
Sensory problems such as persistent ear ringing or difficulty recognizing objects can happen. Lack of hand and eye coordination make people appear to be clumsy. If the part of the brain that processes taste or smell has been damaged, the person may perceive a bitter taste or a bad smell.
Skull fractures or penetrating wounds may tear the membranes surrounding the brain which lets bacteria in causing an infection which can spread to the rest of the nervous system.
A person with a brain injury may need to be fed through a tube during the early part of recovery because of difficulty swallowing.
Language difficulties are common as head trauma most likely will cause problems with spoken and written language, while others have problems deciphering nonverbal signals.
Brain injuries typically interfere with impulse control, so inappropriate behavior is often present during recovery and rehabilitation.
A brain injury appears to increase the risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s disease and, to a lesser degree, Parkinson’s disease.
In the year 2000, direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity was estimated to be $60 billion in the United States alone. Every year the costs multiply.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 5.3 million Americans have a long-term need for help in daily living activities such as improving job skills, managing emotional upsets, improving memory, and controlling temper outbursts.
Rehabilitation is a slow and expensive process and your family will have thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills for different treatments and specialists that a brain injury patient may require, including a speech pathologist, physical therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapy, medication regimens, and a variety of rehabilitation services. The economic and social impact of brain injuries, even mild head injury, can be life changing.
You will be advised by well-meaning family and friends how to proceed. But the best advice is to consult a lawfirm. Just by answering a few questions, Anapol Schwartz, a New Jersey and Pennsylvania law firm, leaders in medical malpractice and personal injury settlements can help you determine what’s next and how they can support your efforts.