Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Serious Problem

The term “mild” traumatic brain injury is very misleading. While the descriptor “mild” typically refers to the severity of the trauma that resulted in the injury, oftentimes in a personal injury context it does not come close to describing the severity of the consequences of the injury. Even though the trauma may be mild, the long term consequences of the injury may be anything other than mild and oftentimes are quite serious.
The vast majority of people who experience a mild traumatic brain injury recover. This is the good news. The bad news is that there is a percentage of persons who suffer trauma who never recover. The Centers For Disease Control has indicated that up to fifteen percent (15%) of patients diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury may have persistent and sometimes disabling long term problems.
Each year in the United States approximately 1.5 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries. 50,000 people die and over 230,000 people are hospitalized. More than 1 million are treated in emergency departments for traumatic brain injuries. It is estimated that over $56 billion is spent in direct and indirect costs as a result of TBIs. 80 – 90,000 Americans experience such significant problems that they have to go on disability.
The statistics cited from the Centers For Disease Control clearly indicate that traumatic brain injuries are a national and serious public health problem. Those fortunate enough to recover from their injuries can go on to live normal lives. However, those who experience long terms problems oftentimes have significant changes in their lives. They may suffer from persistent headaches, pain, cognitive and memory problems, changes in mood, confusion and the like. They may be unable to hold a job and they may suffer from personality changes. In short, the term “mild” traumatic brain injury for such individuals is a complete misnomer and truly does not describe the long term consequences they suffer.

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