Susan and her friends at college purchased a “designer” drug online. It was legal, so how bad could it be, right? Wrong! Susan began having seizures within minutes of ingesting the drug while her friends suffered no negative side effects. Susan went into a coma after almost 4 hours of seizing. When she came out of the coma weeks later, she was unable to communicate for the first several weeks. She required 24/7 care from nurses and doctors, and her mother watched her intelligent, creative daughter, only 20 years old, struggle to move even her head. This was the first brain injury Susan had ever experienced and now she is three times more likely to sustain another brain injury.
Bill spent most of his adult life moving from job to job, drinking and using drugs. At the age of 41, Bill had a girlfriend who liked to party with him. One night Bill was arrested for public drunk and breaking his probation. He was put in jail where he was severely beaten and left for dead in a secluded area of the community room. By the time the ambulance arrived, Bill was not breathing. He underwent extensive surgery and spent weeks in the hospital. Upon discharge to his girlfriend, Bill attempted to jump out of the car while driving down the highway. He was immediately returned to the hospital where he became aggressive and required constant care. Although this was his first severe traumatic brain injury, it was not Bill’s first. Bill is now eight times more likely to sustain another traumatic brain injury because of his history.
These are just two examples of life choices that lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). However, TBIs can be caused by everyday living: driving, playing sports, falling, working, and simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. According to the CDC, every year at least 1.7 million TBIs occur in the United States. The common denominator behind all TBI’s is that it can happen to anyone. Many states have now started educational programs to help prevent TBI’s. To learn more about preventing TBIs, click here to check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.