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FACT:

bulletevery 16 seconds a head injury occurs in the United States
bullet140,000 persons die annually from head injuries
bullet

50,000 to 70,000 persons annually are left with intellectual and behavioral deficits precluding return to regular life

bullettwo thirds of all persons sustaining head injuries are under 30

HEAD INJURY IS:

Head injury is a traumatic insult to the brain resulting in temporary or permanent cognitive, physical, and behavioral/emotional changes. The most common cause of head injuries is automobile accidents. Other contributors are falls, sports injuries, tumors, strokes and situations temporarily interrupting the oxygen or blood flow to the brain. Head injuries are classified as either "penetrating" where an object has pierced the skull or "closed head injury" with no open wound to the brain. Loss of consciousness may occur lasting from a few minutes to weeks (coma) or the injured may not experience any loss of consciousness. A head injury without loss of consciousness may even initially go undiagnosed with the injured later encountering significant problems in their attempts to resume normal life. Coma usually indicates more extensive damage to the brain and the longer the duration of the coma the more prolonged the rehabilitation process. Regardless of the source of the injury, symptoms vary in type and severity for each individual depending upon the degree of the injury and which particular area of the brain is damaged. Each part of the brain controls specific functions of the body such as vision, physical movement speech, memory, and emotions. Damage from the injury may be localized affecting only one function or diffuse affecting many.

 

CHARACTERISTICS:

Just as each individual is unique, so is each head injury. Physical disabilities, impaired learning and personality changes are common. Frequently reported problems include:

physical

bulletspeech
bullet hearing
bullet paralysis
bullet vision
bullet lack of coordination
bullet seizure disorder

cognitive impairments

bulletconcentration
bullet attention
bullet perception
bullet planning
bullet communication
bullet writing skills
bullet short term memory
bullet long term memory
bullet judgment
bullet sequencing
bullet reading skills
bullet orientation

behavioral/emotional changes

bulletfatigue
bullet anxiety
bulletlow self esteem
bulletrestlessness
bullet agitation
bullet mood swings
bullet excessive emotions
bullet depression
bullet sexual dysfunction
bullet lack of motivation
bullet inability to cope
bullet self centeredness