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Recreational accidents often result in serious brain injuries

Traumatic brain injury may not be the first type of injury that our Pennsylvania readers relate to when they think of personal injuries and recreational activities, but it is one of the most common. Did you know that 138 people a day in the United States die from traumatic brain injuries or something resulting from a traumatic brain injury? It is one of the major causes of death in this country.

A traumatic brain injury occurs when there has been blunt trauma to the head. There are different levels of severity. Mild cases are often referred to as concussions. Signs and symptoms may include disorientation, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, blurred vision and nausea. Moderate or severe cases of TBI often start with the same symptoms, but may increase to slurred speech, numbness in hands or feet, seizures, unusual behavior, agitation, confusion and severe headaches.

These symptoms should never be ignored because early diagnosis is imperative. A traumatic brain injury may cause brain cells to temporarily dysfunction, which can result in mild symptoms, or they can cause bruising, bleeding or swelling of the brain, possibly resulting in permanent dysfunction of brain cells.

Falls are the most common causes of TBIs, and unintentional blunt trauma, such as being struck by a baseball, is the second. Other recreational sports injuries are also common causes. Contact sports, such as football, hockey and boxing, among others, are common recreational accidents that could cause TBI.

But a TBI can be caused by an assortment of other activities, some which appear to be relatively safe like getting in and out of a bathtub or perhaps slipping and falling on a wet ceramic floor in the supermarket. Car accidents or ATV accidents and even falling off of a horse while riding can result in traumatic blunt force to one's head.

Traumatic brain injuries that don't result in death often lead to long-time therapy and recovery. Some people require around the clock care until they regain normalcy -- if ever. That is why it is important to use safety precautions in all activities. If a TBI occurred because of the negligence of another person, party or business, he or she may be able to be held responsible for any medical costs, expenses or even for compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Calaveras Enterprise, "Just a bump on the head? Brain injuries not uncommon" Judy Georgiou, Apr. 25, 2014

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