Outside the military, traumatic brain injuries are most often associated with auto accidents. That is because getting hurt while driving a motor vehicles, or sitting in one, is usually the single biggest risk that one faces each day. However, that is not to say that brain injuries do not arise in other circumstances. In fact, they can actually strike just about anywhere and affect anyone–including children.
In some way children may be more prone to TBI. Their body is often not yet fully developed and less capable of withstanding blows without some harm. On top of that, many youngsters are less aware of risky situations and may not avoid them at their own peril. All it takes is a tumble down the stairs by a toddler or a fall into a sharp corner by a little one on unsteady legs to cause head trauma and a possible TBI. All parents know these risks and guard against them as well as possible, but in the end there is no way to eliminate the potential for harm completely.
Hurricane Sandy TBI
A recent story in the Daily Mail illustrates the bizarre circumstances of some of these injuries and the serious consequences for those caught in the middle. Shortly before Halloween last year, a two-year old boy from Georgia (near the coast) was outside in a backyard playing with friends at a local daycare center. Unknown to the children (or their babysitters) were the serious winds that were picking up outside while the little ones were playing. The high winds were caused by Hurricane Sandy. Before the storm caused immense damage to the Northeast, it skirting along the southern half of the east coast, causing much less–though still serious–damage.
Sadly, the winds that struck near the playing children ripped a sizeable branch from a nearby tree and flung it toward the toddlers. The heavy object flew down and hit the two-year old hard in the head and neck. Caregivers saw it happen right away and rushed over to call authorities and administer CPR, but the damage was already done. Doctors explain that the damage spanned across both sides of this brain, making the long-term complications far worse. In addition, there have been significant problems with lowering the swelling and draining the area. The story suggests that the boy has been in a coma since the incident and has yet to wake for the last three and a half months.
Making matters worse, the child developed bacterial meningitis while in the hospital while in the medically induced coma. Last week he had to have another emergency surgery to remove the shunt and pump which had been used to drain the area around the injury. The boy’s long-term prognosis remains unclear, but at the very least he has a mountain of supporters around the country who are following along and rooting for his recovery.
This tragic case is a sad reminder of the risks that exist all around us every day. At times there is nothing that we can do to avoid an accident. But because we cannot control everything does not mean we shouldn’t try to limit the possible harm where we can. It is important for everyone to be aware of basic safety hazards–from slippery stairs to unkempt tree branches–and take steps to rectify the situation.
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