Traumatic Brain Injuries, or TBIs, are head injuries caused by significant external force that lead to brain damage.
The keyword is ‘significant’, because while not all head injuries lead to brain damage, all brain injuries do. This is because the human skull has, over thousands of years, evolved to provide an almost perfect protective container for the brain. When the container fails, so do the contents.
All TBIs are Acquired brain injuries, or ABIs. These are, by definition, injuries to the brain that cause neurological dysregulation, meaning that the brain is not functioning properly.
There are several kinds of ABIs, and all refer to any brain damage not present at birth. They include Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, various neurological disorders called dystonias, strokes, and brain aneurysms (burst blood vessels).
When diagnosing a TBI, doctors need to rule out these causes to confirm an actual brain injury. Parkinson’s can be the result of a brain injury, but is rarely the cause.
With a diagnosis in hand, lawyers can proceed to petition for Social Security disability for TBI victims. The process of getting disability can be long and arduous, but it is also possible to get a finding of TBI disability within 3 months post-injury, under Section 11.18.
As the Brain Injury Clubhouse notes, here are countless methods victims can use to achieve partial, even full, recovery.
Traumatic Brain Injury Causes
The force needed to cause a TBI causes the brain to be jostled inside the skull, usually with enough force to create shearing and tearing of the nerves in the brain.
These extreme forces can be incurred in an auto accident, an explosion, a fall, domestic violence or terroristic incidents (muggings, shootings, etc.), severe weather episodes like tornadoes and hurricanes, and sports injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, the main causes of TBIs are:
- Falls, 28 percent
- Motor vehicle accidents, 20 percent
- Impact events (struck by or against), 19 percent
- Assaults, 11 percent
Of all these causes, sports injuries are currently receiving the most scrutiny. Most are football and soccer related, but some also involve ice hockey, wrestling, or boxing, and even horseback riding and water polo.
Approximately one out of every three injury-related deaths involves a TBI. More than six million Americans now live with a TBI-related disability. A TBI occurs once every 15 seconds in the United States. Experts estimate the direct and indirect medical costs of TBIs in 2014 at $75.6 billion – up $15.6 billion since 2000.
The Worst of the Worst
In spite of the fact that football is a very obvious cause of TBIs, especially among the highly vulnerable 14-24 set, it is not the most dangerous sporting activity.
This, in spite of the fact that the number of reported football concussions doubled in the decade from 2002 to 2012. Among high school athletes, football is responsible for almost 50 percent of concussions, accounting for up to 7.6 percent.
Ice hockey and soccer take second and third place – Hockey at 5.4 percent and girl’s soccer at 3.3 percent.
Boy’s basketball comes in at about 2.1 percent, while cheerleading tags a surprising 1.4 percent. Football is not the worst sport in terms of brain injury.
In fact, generally speaking, while many so-called “collision” sports have drawn attention to the inherent risks of colliding with another human body, or the dirt, participation in these sports may also confer a host of societal benefits. Not the least of which is a sense of community and solidarity.
Horseback riding, or equestrianism, is the third leading cause of TBIs among young people, accounting for 33 percent. Among all ages, it is the leading cause of TBIs.
Active combat and military duty, in 2016, resulted in only 4,592 cases of TBI, down from 22,637 a year earlier.