Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

Brain injury
Brain injury(MGN)
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 9:17 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - In 2020, there were more than 64,000 deaths related to traumatic brain injuries in the United States. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With March being Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, UW Health is bringing awareness and sharing tips to prevent brain injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries occur from a variety of causes and can have life-long consequences, but many are avoidable with simple precautions.

“The ones that we discuss normally are the concussion type brain injury which is a mild version of the brain injury,” said Dr. Ben Gillespie, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at UW Health. “Mild describing only the duration of amnesia after the injury.”

Dr. Gillespie said the term mild doesn’t indicate the severity of the symptoms.

“You can feel some physical symptoms. You can have difficulty with balance, dizziness, vertigo-type symptoms, blurry, double vision,” said Gillespie.

From 2020 to 2022, UW Health has treated about 1,000 people with concussions.

“When you get a concussion, what it really is, what really causes it, is your brain has an impact within inside the skull. It goes from an acceleration to a deceleration quickly,” said Gillespie.

Dr. Gillespie said there are many ways people can get a concussion.

“Common ways that you can an injury would be a fall, which is the most common thing for people 75 and older,” said Gillespie.

For young adults and children, the most common cause of a concussion varies.

“For people who are in their teens to early 20s, the most common cause is motor vehicle accidents. For younger children, the most common cause is either falls and hitting your head or unfortunately nonaccidental trauma,” said Gillespie.

Dr. Gillespie said wearing a helmet is one way to avoid a concussion.

“When you’re riding a bicycle, when you’re riding a skateboard, anything where you’re riding around that’s not a car, you should have a helmet on,” said Gillespie.

To prevent older family members from falling, Dr. Gillespie encourages people to keep walkways clear.

“Clearing clutter from around the bed at nighttime. Making sure homes are well-lit. Doing away with very loose rugs that can slide when people walk,” said Gillespie.