Not all brain injuries are created alike.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 2.8 million brain injuries that require medical attention happen every year. While only a small percentage of these are life-threatening, it can be difficult to immediately tell how severe some brain injuries actually are. The term traumatic brain injury (or TBI) encompasses a wide range of different injuries and symptoms, so two people can have vastly different reactions to head injuries that may look similar.
It's especially important to be cautious about the potential for brain injuries as summer begins. Brain injuries that require hospitalization can increase with outdoor activity, especially among younger people. One of the most common forms comes from bike accidents, which highlights the importance of always wearing a helmet.
As its name indicates, TBIs occur when some sort of impact, blow, or injury affects brain functions. These can range from minor to life-threatening. Minor injuries often just have a temporary impact, but serious injuries can result in long-term bruising, torn tissues, and even internal bleeding.
More severe injuries can often be accompanied by a loss of cognition or consciousness. Although this is most commonly depicted in movies as someone simply blacking out for several hours, real-life loss of consciousness can occur in stages and isn't always as clearly pronounced. The CDC notes that severe brain injuries can be accompanied by disorientation, profound confusion, narrative changes in behavior, and slurred speech.
If you believe that you may be suffering from symptoms of a traumatic brain injury, please refer to a trusted medical source, such as the CDC. Also, if you have reason to believe that someone may have suffered a severe brain injury, contact medical services as soon as possible to prevent the possibility of further damage.
Of course, the most effective treatment for a brain injury is to avoid them however you can. Wearing helmets when bicycling has been shown to reduce the odds of a serious brain injury by almost 70 percent. Additionally, make sure that any young children are supervised during outdoor activities, especially during the first few weeks of summer when everyone's still acclimating to spending time outside.