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A guide to traumatic brain injury risk awareness

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can affect anybody who suffers a head injury at any time -- but some people are definitely more at risk than others of suffering one of those injuries.

To minimize your risk, understand where you can make changes that will help you avoid becoming the next victim of a traumatic brain injury:

Reduce your risk of falls

If you're an older adult, you have a much higher risk of suffering a brain injury due to a fall than other people.

Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 80 percent of traumatic brain injuries in older adults come from simple falls. To reduce your risk of falling, take these precautions:

  • Put handrails up on staircases and next to the tub
  • Wear nonslip shoes in the shower or on slick kitchen floors
  • Use a cane or a walker if you need it for balance
  • Make sure that your prescription eyewear is up to date to avoid trips
  • Invest in a balance ball and use it to build strength and balancing skills
  • Walk daily to improve your circulation and lower body strength

Keep in mind that people who fall are seldom able to recover their pre-fall lives entirely. This is one case where an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Be wary of sports injuries

There's a lot of attention in the media these days about concussions, especially among athletes.

To prevent someone you love from suffering repeated head trauma and brain injuries, be cautious about the sports that you let children engage in at school.

In addition, make sure that coaches and parents know the risks of concussions and do the following:

  • Change the model of play from tackle to touch football
  • Make sure that all children wear appropriate protective gear when on the field
  • Discourage extreme displays of physical agility (like flips and other dangerous stunts)
  • Educate student athletes about the dangers of repeated brain damage
  • Enforce a rest period after a player takes even a mild knock to the head during any game

No game is worth lifelong seizures, a shortened life, anger control issues and the degenerative disease that comes with permanent brain damage.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "TBIs and Injuries," accessed March 09, 2018

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