Why is the brain so susceptible to injury?

By Stephen Nagle of Stephen G. Nagle & Associates posted in brain injuries on Tuesday, December 6, 2016.

Nowadays, sports fans can’t watch a game without hearing the phrase “concussion protocol.” What does this mean? A player enters the concussion protocol after showing symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). 15 percent of NFL players display symptoms of TBI over the course of a season. As of 2010, a TBI was diagnosed in one out of every 20 emergency room visits related to an injury.

TBI can happen to anyone.  It can happen in a simple car wreck, or in an ordinary slip-and-fall injuriy.

Why is the brain is so prone to injury?  The composition of the brain provides some answers.

Jell-O in your head?

The brain is made up of 60 percent fat and uses the most water of any organ in the body. Its consistency is described as like gelatin.   inside your skull. To protect this potentially fragile organ, you have a thick skull, and, within teh skull, your brain is surrounded by spinal fluid.  This protects your brain from injury during most everyday activities.

However, if your body or head sustain a forceful blow, the spinal fluid within your skull may be unable to protect your brain from drastic movement. This force can cause your brain to impact the inside of your skull, and this can result in TBI.

This type of trauma inside your head is potentially quite gruesome and serious, but, thankfully, most TBIs are mild concussions, and cause no permanent damage. However, any impact to your body or head outside of normal body movement can cause TBI that results in permanent damage. Therefore, it is important to understand the signs and symptoms.

Seeing stars

Immediate signs and symptoms of mild TBI can include “seeing stars,” confusion, amnesia for the traumatic event, or a temporary loss of consciousness.  For a few days or weeks after a TBI the victim may feel foggy brained, or a little out of it.  Over longer periods of time, TBI sufferers can experience changes in short term memory, changes in thinking processes, or changes in personality.  If you believe someone has suffered TBI, your primary care before medical treatment is available can minimize symptoms and speed recovery.

First, check the person for any other injury that could worsen upon movement like a sprained ankle or broken bone. If they cannot move on their own, it is usually best to wait for EMTs to arrive, and just keep talking to the person.  If the individual is able to move on their own, lead them to a quiet, darkened room away from noise and light sensations. You can ask them simple questions like “What day is it?” or “What did you have for breakfast?” to determine their state of consciousness, and whether they know who and where they are.

One of the most visible signs of a serious concussion or TBI includes dilated or uneven pupil size of the eyes. If a person has lost consciousness, or has one or more dilated pupils, stay with them and keep talking to them.  If those signs are present, it is important to try to not let the person fall asleep until medical care can be provided.

If you or a loved one has suffered TBI, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Through understanding the causes, symptoms and treatment of TBI, we can better prevent long-term injury and reoccurrence.

Related Posts: When Crashes Cause TBIs in Children3 ways a traumatic brain injury can happen on the job