In past years, people might not think twice about suffering a bump on the head. Indeed, whether someone hit his head while participating in an athletic activity or a small car accident, the belief was that small bump or minor concussion was nothing to be concerned about. Recent research indicates, however, that these sorts of seemingly minor head injuries can be much more serious than most people realize.
Many people would be surprised to hear that roughly 2.5 million people in the U.S. visit hospital emergency rooms each year due to traumatic brain injuries. An estimated 50,000 of these people will die because of their injuries, while many who do recover go on to experience a variety of health issues later on.
What many people may not realize is that brain injuries are becoming more and more common each year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the number of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. has increased approximately 70 percent over the past decade. A variety of factors are to blame, including increased numbers of young people participating in contact sports and other activities, such as skateboarding, where head injuries are common. Experts also believe that our aging population has also played a role in the increased incidence of head injuries in the U.S.
While sports-related head injuries have received a great deal of attention in the past few years, falls are by far the most common cause of head injuries, according to the CDC. Getting hit in the head by an object is the second leading cause, followed by car accidents.
While a head injury may appear minor immediately after it occurs, it can still set off a catastrophic chain of neural events that can cause significant damage. In some cases, it can take months, even years, for patients to recover fully. In other cases, patients are never able to regain their cognitive or emotional health.
Even now, researchers are still working to fully understand the ways in which even minor head injuries can affect the brain. Although doctors have identified several promising treatments, recovery from a head injury can still be a long and difficult process.
Those who have suffered a head injury in a fall or car accident should make time to speak to a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney can speak to you about your rights and help you determine what to do next.