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When it comes to brain injury, what can we do?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries suffered in the U.S. every year. Most of those injuries result in at least emergency room visits. Some 280,000 result in the patient being admitted to the hospital and about 50,000 people die of their injuries every year.

That's a lot of pain and difficulty, not only for those who suffer TBI, but also for those who may have to provide care for the patients over the long haul. Making sure that a California head trauma sufferer obtains all the medical care required to achieve the fullest possible recovery can be a challenge without an attorney's help, especially if it involves pursuing a claim for compensation from some negligent party. 

The occurrence of traumatic brain injuries is on the rise. In the past 10 years, the rate of TBI-related trips to the ER have risen 70 percent, according to the CDC. On the bright side, the number of deaths associated with TBI injuries have fallen by about 7 percent. But what the data doesn't reflect is what the quality of life is like for those who survive.

What makes the issue of TBI worse is that no one is really immune from the possibility of such an injury. The CDC says falls account for more than 40 percent of all brain traumas, and those occur most commonly among people 45 and older.

Another major contributor to TBIs is sports and recreational activities. Hockey and football get a lot of the credit, but research shows soccer players are not immune. And skateboarding and other so-called "extreme" activities are also big contributors to head trauma.

There are some experts who say that the best way to avoid TBI may be to wear a helmet and wear a mouth guard. But based on the data, we'd all have to wear such gear during our waking hours, and that will never happen.

We might simply focus attention on helmeting the athletes. But as some football research has found, no one brand of helmet is any better than another, and special or custom mouth guards have actually been associated with a higher incidence of injury.

So, maybe the best thing for us all to do is to continue to raise our awareness about the importance of getting to the doctor whenever a head injury is suspected.

Source: io9, "Why a Head Injury Can Be Far Worse Than You Realize," George Dvorsky, April 1, 2014

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