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TBIs Called “Silent Public Health Epidemic”

WSLS News warned its local readers about what it deemed the “silent public health epidemic” of traumatic brain injuries. In so doing they shared they story of a local resident who fell in her basement a few years ago. The woman explained that she was on top of her dyer while trying to fix a problem with a squeaking sound when she fell backwards. She hit the concrete floor. There was a light pad on the concrete, but her head and shoulder still made very hard contact. At first the woman was stunned by the fall-unable to move or talk. Eventually she regained her senses and was able to get up. She went to the doctor and was told that she had a concussion. Our Illinois brain injury attorneys realize that there is a perception among many in society that concussions are “not a big deal.” In the past they were essentially assumed to be just a hard knock on the head that didn’t have any long term consequences.

However, more and more people are learning that not to be true.

For example, the woman in this case still feels the effect of the fall three years later. As one doctor explained, “Often what will happen after a period of time, one will start to see changes in behavior that will be directly related to TBI.” These effects are hard to notice at first and often explained away by victims as caused by something else. Rarely is the traumatic brain injury recognized as the actual cause of the harm. It is for this reason that the problem is often considered “silent”-its effects are still underappreciated by the society at large.

It is a community problem, because it can affect everyone at one point or another. Through the years our Illinois brain injury lawyers have watched as local residents have suffered TBIs following car accidents, falls, in sports, and a variety of other scenarios. National statistics suggest that every year across the country about 1.5 million Americans suffer one of these brain injuries. The effects run the gamut from death and permanent disability to memory loss, emotional damage, and beyond.

Children may be the most prone to problems. One medical expert in the area explained, “Amongst children, from about birth to age 14 in the U.S., TBI is the leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability of children.” In other words-the effects are serious and the scope of the problem is broad.

Even then, the current information about the scope of the problem may underestimate its seriousness. That is because professionals still lack tools to properly identify TBI precisely in all cases. New research projects are popping up which it is hoped will improve diagnosis. But those efforts are still in progress. The most promising studies are those that use MRI analysis right after an injury occurs and as the brain recovers to identify exactly how the brain works and changes during this time. If successful, these research efforts could go a long way toward identifying the injured and ensuring that receive the treatment they need.

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