Brain injuries can occur for any number of reasons, from car accidents, to sporting injuries, or even just a simple fall. Advances in medical technology have managed to greatly improve the chances of survival of people who have suffered brain injury, but the impact of the injury on the life of the victim, and those around them, is huge.
The Different Kinds of Brain Injury
There are several kinds of brain injury – some are caused by a lack of oxygen getting to the brain, or by a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain (e.g. strokes). However, the most well known type of brain injury is “Traumatic Brain Injury”, which is caused when an external force causes trauma to the brain.
Traumatic Brain Injuries are a major cause of death worldwide and even those who survive may require supported living arrangements for a long time. A lot of work has been put into the study of brain injury rehabilitation techniques, but the road to recovery is difficult.
Causes of Brain Injury
Traumatic Brain Injuries are common in sports such as boxing, professional wrestling, and American football. It’s common for retired boxers to be diagnosed with Dementia Pugilistica – a type of neurodegenerative condition which is brought on by repeated concussions. The effects of these repeated injuries are not obvious in the short term, but, later in life, the sufferer may develop speech problems, an unsteady gait, behavioural problems, and memory loss. Those with the most severe symptoms may require supported living assistance.
The most common cause of head injuries in the general public are not sporting related however. Most head injuries in adults are a result of falls, motor vehicle crashes, or assaults. Children often suffer head injuries as a result of falling over, colliding with things, or getting into a fight with other children.
Improvements in safety equipment over the past 30 years have greatly reduced the number of fatalities that have occurred as a result of motorbike and sporting related head injuries, but the risk of traumatic brain injury in combat sports and extreme sports is still very real.
Treating Brain Injuries
When a head injury occurs, it’s important to seek medical advice as quickly as possible. For serious head injuries, there is a “golden hour” during which emergency treatment is most likely to be successful. There’s usually little that can be done to reduce the damage caused by the initial trauma, but medical professionals can work to prevent further damage. Also, brain injury rehabilitation is more likely to be successful if treatment is received promptly.
Research is still being done on the cognitive and communication problems most commonly associated with traumatic brain injury. Medical science has a long way to when it comes to understanding the human brain. Research into brain injury rehabilitation has made a lot of progress in terms of developing medications and computer programs that can help those who require supported living arrangements to regain lost skills, and develop a degree of independence.
This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of Voyage who provide supported living arrangements and brain injury rehabillitation programmes.