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Slip and falls the leading cause of traumatic brain injury

A person slips and falls, landing on his or her back and perhaps hits his or her head. New York City residents would be surprised to know that what looks like a harmless slip-and-fall injury can lead to serious consequences. Although the accident may appear to be trivial, it can result in traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Every year in the United States, more than 50,000 people die as a result of TBI. A TBI reportedly occurs every 23 seconds, and 235,000 TBI-related hospitalizations occur each year. It is the second most frequently sustained injury in the country.

Slip-and-fall accidents are the most common cause of TBI, and the elderly and children under the age of four are particularly susceptible. Motor vehicle accidents, gunshot wounds, sporting accidents, workplace accidents and shaken baby syndrome are other common causes of TBI.

In the treatment of TBI patients, doctors suggest that playing chess can do miracles. In cognitive rehabilitation, another inventive treatment for brain injury victims, the person is retrained in attention, memory and problem-solving. Perhaps most importantly, TBI patients require the support of friends and family members during recovery.

TBI may affect a person's thinking, overall mental capability, behavior, emotion and memory. TBI victims are also at a higher risk of more serious conditions, such as seizures, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

TBI victims may need long-term care and constant evaluation, which can possibly lead to financial crises as a result of the costs of related medical treatment and therapy. If negligence can be proved, victims may be eligible to sue the party responsible for causing the injury. The compensation awarded may include medical expenses, therapy costs, disability benefits and lost wages.

Source: Minot Daily News, "Traumatic brain injury," Jill Hambek, Feb. 4, 2013

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