Leading cause of TBI injuries in 2013 was falls not football

On behalf of Mike Clancy

A lot of safety discussions these days are focused around preventing traumatic brain injuries. Why? There are approximately 1.7 million new injuries of this type suffered every single year. As of now, much of the focus has been placed on how to prevent these types of injuries in children or adults, like targeting safety in contact sports such as football.

There is nothing wrong with targeting these TBI causes, but that isn’t where the real problem lies says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Ileana Arias, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said that the direct cause of a TBI is any sort of trauma to the head. Falls are where most of TBI patients suffer this trauma, said Dr. Arias.

According to 2013 data collected by the CDC, 35.2 percent of all TBI cases reported thus far involved a patient falling. Children and adults don’t actually have the highest risk for complications, said Dr. Arias. Those “75 and older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and death.”

Not only are elderly individuals more likely to fall, but when they do suffer trauma to the head, it is much more difficult for them to recover than it is for younger patients.

In order to help prevent elderly loved ones from suffering a TBI in a fall, Dr. Arias made some recommendations. These included encouraging exercise where possible, making safety in their home a priority, staying up-to-date on vision testing and even making sure that a medication regiment doesn’t cause issues with balance.

While we can control our own surroundings at home, we can’t always ensure that public facilities are hazard free. When a patron suffers a slip-and-fall injury, property owners in Chicago can be held liable for the damage that results.

Source: Senior Journal, “Senior Citizens at High Risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries from Falls,” Oct. 29, 2013

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Leading cause of TBI injuries in 2013 was falls not football