An injury to the brain is no simple matter. If you’ve suffered an injury, you can’t afford to place your case in the wrong hands.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a form of acquired brain injury (ABI), which occurs when extensive damage to the brain is incurred. These injuries include stroke and brain illness, but not degenerative brain conditions. Since January 2011, the definitions for TBI and ABI have evolved. Although there is no concrete definition, most agencies – including the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Brain Injury Network – agree that TBI is a form of ABI. Other types of acquired brain injuries include contusions, diffuse axonal, penetration (by a knife, bullet or other foreign object), toxicity, anoxia and hypoxic.

Brain Injuries Require Serious Attention

Brain injuries are very serious and treatment options are minimal, as most often it is impossible to reverse brain damage. In the United States, TBI is the leading cause of death for people under the age of 45, with a traumatic brain injury taking place every 15 seconds. Leading causes of TBI are motor vehicle accidents, acts of violence, falls, sports and recreational injuries, lightning strikes, electric shocks, and blows to the head. In cases like whiplash and shaken babies, for example, traumatic brain injuries can occur without any outward physical evidence of injury or trauma.

The impact of brain damage in patients manifests in various ways. Most noticeable are changes in memory, frequent fatigue, rapid mood swings and mental rigidity. More severe brain injuries can result in serious physical and mental limitations like paralysis and reduced mental skills. Less severe side-effects can include ringing in the ears, jaw and facial pain, and vertigo.

Concussions, often considered a mild blow to the head, can also have a major if not life-threatening impact. Actress Natasha Richardson fell on a beginner’s slope during a ski lesson in early 2009. Although she got up from the fall and “felt fine”, within hours complications developed and she was pronounced brain dead. Medical attention for any type of head injury is always recommended.