Brain Injury Prevention
At the Allen Law Firm, our Virginia attorneys work with brain injured clients every day. We understand that serious and even mild brain injuries can leave patients with permanent cognitive, behavioral, and/or communicative disabilities as well as long term medical complications. For this reason, it is essential that people of all ages focus on ways to prevent traumatic brain injuries .
According to National Institute of Health, half of all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are caused by car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents. Falls are responsible for the majority of TBIs in persons over the age of 75. Sadly, violence involving incidents like gunshot wounds or child abuse account for about 20% of the nation’s TBIs every year. At least half of all TBI injuries involve the use of alcohol. Sports injuries result in only a small fraction of this type of injury.
Causation plays a determinative role in an injured patient’s medical outcome. About 91% of firearm TBI victims, including those attempting suicide, die. However, there is only an 11 percent mortality rate for those who fall and sustain a brain injury.
There are a number of precautions you can take to help ensure that neither you nor a family member joins the ranks of those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
1. Ensure that all occupants in your motor vehicle are properly restrained in a seat belt, a child’s safety seat, or a booster seat depending on age and the laws of your state.
2. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition to car accidents, drinking alcoholic beverages to excess or using drugs can also contribute to falls or lead to violent acts that may cause brain injury.
3. Safe storage of all firearms is essential. Place unloaded weapons in locked cabinets or safes. Store bullets elsewher.
Unfortunately, some teens have an uncanny ability to find guns and rifles no matter how carefully they’ve been put away, even in a “secret” location. Over the years, Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen attorneys have represented a number of families whose teenagers have been killed in gun accidents where one teen finds an inadequately secured and loaded gun, thinks it is unloaded, and carelessly shoots a friend while he’s horsing around.
When you have young children or teens in residence, it’s critical to keep firearms in a locked site, preferably at some distance from your home.
4. Install safety features in your house that will minimize the likelihood of falls. This is especially important for the elderly in bathrooms where grab bars and nonslip bathtub mats may help prevent broken hips, not just brain injuries. Staircase handrails also provide added security to those climbing up and down steps, particularly outside on rainy or icy days.
As a person gets older, exercise routines can help maintain strength, balance and coordination reducing the chances of a fall. An ophthalmologist or optometrist should check your eyes periodically. If you can’t see well, it is easy to miss a step or stumble.
5. Helmets can make the difference between sustaining a serious brain injury or just a few scrapes and bruises in accidents involving sports and vehicles. Wear a helmet that meets safety standards whenever you are riding a motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard, snowmobile or ATV. Insist your children do the same.
Sports are no different. Head protection is indispensible when you ride a horse, ski, and skate, play baseball, or engage in a contact sport.
At some point in your life, you or a relative may suffer a brain injury through the negligence of others and in situations over which you have no control. However, that is no excuse for you to avoid taking your own precautions when, where, and however you can. If the effort you make ultimately pays off by keeping you or someone you know from experiencing a brain injury, your time and effort will be well worth it.