Washington residents may have heard a lot about traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, in recent years. From the shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to lawsuits over repeated concussions suffered by NFL players, TBIs have been all over the news.
The extra attention is helpful because the Centers for Disease Control reports that TBIs are a major cause of disability and death in the United States. In 2010, around 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospital stays or deaths were tied to TBIs, and the condition played a part in approximately 30 percent of all injury deaths in the country.
TBIs can occur due to a blow or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury, such as a gunshot wound, that interrupts a person’s normal brain function. TBIs can be mild, meaning a person may feel dizzy or briefly lose consciousness, or severe, meaning a person may be unconscious for a long period of time or experience significant memory loss. Most TBIs reported are mild and are referred to as concussions.