How traumatic brain injuries happen is no secret. Neither is why they happen. The question that seems to be the most elusive is how to prevent traumatic brain injuries in the first place.
While there have been many advancements to prevent and treat traumatic brain injuries, there does not seem to be any real way to completely stop the occurrence of such injuries.
What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when the brain is damaged due to some form of impact or trauma. Any action that causes the brain to experience sudden and rapid acceleration or deceleration has this potential, for instance.
Car accidents are major culprits of this type of injury. Severe impact, which includes an impact from a blast shockwave, is another possibility. The last reason is penetration by some sort of projectile. The degree of an injury is classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
The brain can be damaged in many other ways. This is why there is a separate classification for non-traumatic brain injuries. Examples of this are brain damage caused by stroke, infection, or some other disease or medical condition. An acquired brain injury is a sub-classification of a non-traumatic injury. Acquired implies that the brain injury was a birth defect and thus acquired.
It is important to note that a head injury is not the same as a traumatic brain injury. A head injury is a description reserved to describe any injury to the head, scalp, or skull that is not the brain.
Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention
Some occupations, especially those of professional athletes, present more risk for a brain injury. Technology has permitted several advancements in equipment that can help prevent or mitigate the severity of TBI. Helmets have modified foam densities and construction to help protect from the injuries most associated with the activity for which the helmet is designed.
This is why it is important to use the appropriate helmet designed for the activity in which you engage. Specially engineered neck braces help prevent injuries that are related to rapid acceleration and deceleration. The braces are commonly used by those in motorsports, extreme cycling, and offroad auto racing. Those involved in auto racing also utilize three-point harness systems to curtail TBI due to crashes.
In other sports, especially football, techniques and equipment are both utilized to prevent the injuries. Football leagues have prohibited certain ways of tackling that have overwhelmingly shown to cause TBI.
In addition to this effort, coaches have started to retrain football athletes, educating them on safe and unsafe tackling techniques.
Impossible to Eradicate
The fact is that there are an unimaginable number of ways that a TBI can occur. It is not only high-risk activities that result in these injuries. People have suffered a TBI from accidentally falling down while walking.
While the body is resilient, it is also amazingly fragile. The only way to mitigate the risk is to wear protective headgear twenty-four hours per day. Even with a helmet, some accidents are severe enough to cause a TBI with protective headgear.
The best one can do is be aware of which activities pose the largest risk for this type of injury. If you engage in these activities, invest in equipment that can help prevent or lessen TBI. If an injury does occur, there are medical therapies that can rehabilitate an injury.