Over the past few weeks a website link has been passed along from many families via emails and social media networks. The site was created by a mother whose daughter experienced a rare, seemingly bizarre traumatic brain injury. The parent wished to explain the situation and warn others of the risks. It is a story that highlights both the serious consequences of all brain injuries and the ease with which they can strike community members of all ages.
The girl in this story was five years old last April when she was enjoying the day outside with her mother. While walking along, the young girl tripped fell, causing a small cut to the back of her head. It was seemingly a common slip and fall faced by youngsters every day. The little girl did not show any outwards signs of injury, as she got back up and kept playing. However, noticing that there was a cut, the girl’s mother decided to take her to the doctor’s office. She expected that she might need a stitch or two. Unfortunately, the injury would be much more severe than anyone would have expected.
It turns out that the little girl had a skull fracture. She was forced to be immediately airlifted to a larger hospital. A few hours later the girl was undergoing intense brain surgery. The head fracture sent skull fragments into her brain that had to be removed and repaired. The five-year old was forced to spend five days in an intensive care unit before stabilizing enough to be moved to a rehabilitation center. She then spent weeks re-learning how to walk, allow her memory to recover, and developing other basic mental abilities.
It was soon learned that the traumatic brain injury was caused by a hard plastic ponytail holder that the girl was wearing at the time of the fall. The object essentially included two hard plastic dice-like boxes (each less than an inch long) connected by a rubber tie. When her head made contact with the ground, the hard plastic cube opened up a 2 cm cut in the girl’s head. The hair accessory is apparently made of a material capable of breaking through a child’s skull. The mother suggests that the material is usually stronger than the skulls of children fourteen years old or younger. It is as if the child had fallen on a rock with sharp corners as edges. The mother explains that it essentially acts as a knife.
The young girl will require much more therapy, and it still remains unclear if she will have any long-term physical or mental impairments as a result of the accident. While this story is likely unique in the exact way that the injury arose, it is not unique in suggesting that this head trauma can be caused by a wide range of incidents. Our Chicago brain injury lawyers have worked with victims over the years that have experienced a range of accidents. If one were to categorize them, however, two trends emerge right away: car accidents and slip and falls.
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