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Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention

Every 16 seconds in the United States, a person suffers traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults and occurs more frequently than do breast cancer cases, HIV/AIDS infections, multiple sclerosis cases, and spinal cord injuries combined. However, traumatic brain injury is preventable. Taking simple precautions in recreation, the home, and the workplace, can help prevent traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention: Falls

Falls are one of the leading traumatic brain injury causes. The elderly are especially susceptible to brain injury from falls. Older people who live alone or in negligent nursing homes can fall, slip, or trip and sustain devastating brain and head injuries.

Providing adequate lighting in the home and on walkways, moving furniture or obstacles from walking pathways, storing food and necessities in easily accessible areas, and providing adequate care for elderly people who need assistance with mobility or daily activities can reduce a person's chances of sustaining traumatic brain injury from falls.

To prevent traumatic brain injury from falls in the work place, employers should keep walking pathways clear of obstacles, provide hand railing on stairwells, keep tile or laminate floors dry, avoid placing work materials on high shelves, and prevent employees from climbing counter tops or desks to retrieve work materials.

Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention: Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents also cause a significant portion of traumatic brain injuries. Transportation accidents are the leading causes of brain injury deaths and disabilities among people 15 to 24 years of age. Fast, negligent driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can cause devastating accidents. Preventing friends, family members, and others from driving under the influence can reduce the rate of these accidents. Obeying traffic laws and wearing seatbelts can also help protect a person from sustaining traumatic brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention: Recreation

Recreational and pedestrian accidents can also cause serious brain injuries. Wearing a helmet during recreational activities such as bicycle riding, horseback riding, or during high impact, contact sports can prevent traumatic brain injury.

Other ways to prevent traumatic brain injury include:

  • Buckling children into child safety seats, booster seats, or seatbelts when in a motor-vehicle.
  • Using a step stool with railing to avoid falls when reaching objects on high shelves.
  • Installing window guard rails to prevent a person from falling out of an open window.
  • Installing safety gates at the top of stairs to prevent children from falling.
  • Making sure a child's playground surface is covered in shock-absorbing material (hardwood mulch, sand).

Traumatic brain injury is a serious condition that requires immediate medical treatment. Anyone with traumatic brain injury symptoms should be immediately taken to a hospital. To learn more about traumatic brain injury and how it is treated, please read other articles on this site.

[Last revision: July 2009]

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