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    fts-kent-lpsIt’s a leading cause of death and disability in America. It’s one of the most difficult injuries to predict, with a wide variety of symptoms that may last a few weeks or a lifetime. While this injury affects people of all ages, those older than 75 or younger than five years of age are most likely to receive emergency room treatment because of it.

    Traumatic brain injuries lead to the deaths of about 155 people in the United States each day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, and can leave long-lasting impacts not only on injured individuals, but on their families and communities as well.

    What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

    As explained by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, traumatic brain injury is an acquired brain injury that occurs when sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. It can be caused when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and penetrates the brain tissue. Some common traumatic brain injury symptoms such as:

    • Loss of consciousness
    • Confusion
    • Light-headedness or dizziness
    • Blurred vision
    • Fatigue
    • Ringing in the ears
    • A bad taste in the mouth
    • Mood changes
    • Changes to sleep patterns
    • Trouble with memory or concentration
    • A worsening or lingering headache
    • Vomiting or nausea
    • Convulsions or seizures
    • An inability to awaken from sleep
    • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
    • Weakness or numbness in the limbs
    • Loss of coordination
    • Slurred speech
    • Increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation

    As noted by the Brain Injury Association of America, the brain is made up of several different parts, each of which enables certain bodily functions. The difficulties that one might encounter during recovery from a brain injury differ depending on which part of the brain was injured. Here is a look at the functions served by each part of the brain and how an injury to that area may affect an individual:

    • Frontal lobe: The frontal lobe controls such functions as attention, concentration, self-monitoring, organization, expressive language, motor planning and initiation, awareness of abilities, awareness of limitations, personality, mental flexibility, emotions, problem-solving, planning, and judgment. An injury affecting the frontal lobe may damage an individual’s ability to control emotions, impulses, or behavior. This type of injury may also cause difficulty with remembering events or speaking.
    • Temporal lobe: The temporal lobe’s functions include memory, the ability to understand language, sequencing, hearing, and organization. An injury to this area of the brain may produce deficits in the person’s ability to communicate or remember.
    • Parietal lobe: The parietal lobe functions involve sense of touch, depth perception, visual perception, and the ability to identify shapes, sizes, and colors. An individual who suffers an injury to the parietal lobe region of the brain may leave impacts on any or all of the five senses.
    • Occipital lobe: The occipital lobe’s main function is controlling vision. Those suffering occipital lobe injuries may have difficulty seeing and perceiving the size or shape of objects.
    • Cerebellum: The cerebellum controls functions such as balance and coordination, skilled motor activity, and visual perception. Those suffering from a brain injury involving the cerebellum may have temporary or permanent loss of balance and coordination.
    • Brainstem: The brainstem controls breathing, arousal, consciousness, heart rate, and sleeping or waking cycles. An injury to the brain stem would damage the functions necessary for survival, such as breathing or heart rate.

    Two events may occur after a person sustains a brain injury. First, the brain tissues react to the trauma through a series of biochemical responses. These responses then flood the brain, damaging and destroying brain cells. Depending on the severity of the injury, the injured person may also lose consciousness or experience coma, respiratory problems, or reduced motor functions. Approximately half of all severe brain injuries require surgeries to repair broken blood vessels in the brain or to remove damaged brain tissue.

    How Are Brain Injuries Caused?

    The CDC reports that falls account for nearly half of all traumatic brain injuries, and disproportionately affects the oldest and youngest of the population. 81 percent of the traumatic brain injury-related visits to U.S. emergency departments by individuals over the age of 65 are the result of falls. Nearly half of the emergency department visits related to brain injuries and involving children 17 years old or younger were due to falls.

    Another leading cause of brain injuries is being struck by an object. This cause accounts for around 17 percent of all brain injury-related emergency department visits. More than a quarter of brain injury-related emergency department visits in children 17 years old or younger involved the child getting struck by or against an object.

    The two most common causes of brain injuries resulting in hospitalization were falls and motor vehicle accidents, accounting for a respective 52 percent and 20 percent of brain injuries requiring hospitalization. Hospitalization rates were higher among brain-injured patients aged 75 or older, or 4 years old or younger. For individuals aged 15 to 44 years old, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of brain injuries requiring hospitalization.

    Brain injury-related deaths are also highest among those 75 years and older. Falls are the leading cause of brain injury-related death in those over 65. Self-harm was the most common cause of death for brain-injured individuals between the ages of 45 to 64.

    What Are the Long-Lasting Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries?

    The brain is unable to heal itself, which means that a person may never fully recover from a brain injury. Even though functions may stabilize, those that are controlled by the portion of the brain that was injured may continue to present challenges for the brain injured person for life.

    The impact of a brain injury on a person’s ability to function properly is not in direct relation to the severity of the injury. Even those suffering “mild” brain injuries may experience permanent disability.

    Some of the unconscious states that may be experienced by brain injured people include:

    • Vegetative state: The individual is unaware of his or her surroundings, but does have wake and sleep cycles. His or her digestion, breathing, and heart rates are normal. Eyes may or may not be open and the individual will occasionally respond to painful stimuli.
    • Persistent vegetative state: This diagnosis is given to those who experienced a vegetative state following a brain injury for at least one year.
    • Minimally conscious state: The individual shows some awareness of themselves and their environment, though this awareness might be limited or intermittent.
    • Locked-in syndrome: The person is alert and able to think but can only move their eyes.
    • Brain death: This condition occurs when the individual’s entire brain, including the brainstem, ceases to function.

    Waking up after a loss of consciousness or a consciousness disorder is not as neat or easy as it is portrayed on television and in movies. It is often a period of irritability or agitation for the injured person, as well as post-traumatic amnesia, which causes confusion, disorientation, and the inability to recall recent events.

    Those who do not suffer from a consciousness disorder such as those listed above, may experience other disabilities, which become more pronounced as the level of severity of the injury increases. Some disabilities commonly experienced by brain injured people include:

    • Problems with thinking or reasoning
    • Sensory processing issues, which damage the individual’s senses of taste, touch, sight, smell, or sound
    • The inability to effectively communicate with others
    • Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, aggression, or sexual inappropriateness

    Brain injuries increase the likelihood of other conditions, including:

    • Endocrine disorders
    • Seizures
    • Fatigue
    • Chronic or recurring headaches
    • Cognitive decline
    • Dementia
    • Parkinson’s disease

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      Frequently Asked Questions About Brain Injuries

      What should I do if I have suffered a head/brain injury through no fault of my own?
      Head and brain injuries are among the most serious cases we handle. Even a seemingly minor bump on the head can escalate into life-threatening complications. If you or a loved one has sustained any type of head injury, it’s crucial... Read More
      What are some common causes of head and brain injuries?
      Head and brain injury cases we handle are frequently caused by auto accidents, semi-truck wrecks, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall, medical malpractice, birth injuries, pedestrian accidents, construction/workplace accidents, shaken baby syndrome/other child injuries, or other personal injuries. Remember that severe... Read More
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      A brain injury is not always immediately apparent. Swelling or other effects could be delayed or can slowly worsen over time—sometimes taking months or years to fully develop. If you sustained other injuries in the accident, it is also possible... Read More
      What are some of the effects of head and brain injuries?
      Head and brain injuries vary widely in severity and the lasting effects they cause. Concussion, swelling, contusion/hemorrhage, brain bruising/bleeding, and blood clots are a few of the diagnoses a head injury victim could sustain. Long-term effects of head and brain... Read More
      What compensation is available for a head/brain injury?
      If you have been affected by a severe head or brain injury due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to compensation for the medical expenses incurred treating your injury. You may also be able to collect lost wages... Read More
      The insurance company has made an offer to me. Should I accept it?
      Never accept any payment from the insurance company before consulting with an experienced brain injury attorney – especially if you or your loved one has suffered a catastrophic head or brain injury. If you accept compensation now, you may be... Read More
      How long do I have to file suit in a head or brain injury case?
      The statute of limitations for filing a head/brain injury claim varies depending on the type of case. If you were injured in a car or semi accident, you will typically have two years to file suit. Other types of claims... Read More
      How do I pay for an attorney in a head/brain injury case?
      The Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart works on a contingency fee basis. That means we only get paid if you get paid in your head or brain injury case. Call Warren and Barren County, Kentucky personal injury attorney Flora... Read More
      Where can I get more information on head and brain injuries?
      If you or a loved one has been affected by a traumatic brain injury, you can find additional information at,, or
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