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Missouri Traumatic Brain Injury Cases Are on the Rise

March 16th, 2022

In Missouri, emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to traumatic brain injuries has increased more than 15% since 1999. In Missouri every year, approximately 1,300 people die from a traumatic brain injury, and more than 12,000 are treated in an emergency room or hospitalized due to a TBI.

A traumatic brain injury occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. A TBI can occur when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull. TBI’s can be mild or severe, and the symptoms of TBI vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some TBI symptoms include, but are not limited to, headache, lightheadedness, confusion, blurred vision, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, lethargy, disturbed sleep patterns, and trouble with memory, concentration, and cognitive functioning.

Anyone showing signs of TBI should seek medical attention immediately. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by head trauma, medical professionals will try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns typically involve insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain, maintaining blood flow and controlling blood pressure.

Missouri’s state health department recently published reports about TBI in Missouri and revealed a statewide action plan examining ways to prevent traumatic brain injuries. The plan also seeks to increase public awareness about TBI and improve services provided to those who have sustained a TBI.

Most TBI’s are caused by motor vehicle crashes, crashes involving off-road vehicles, such as ATV’s, falls and jumps, and being struck by another person or an object. Explosive blast injuries sustained in combat are an emerging cause of traumatic brain injury, and TBI has been named the “signature wound” of the war on terror. It has been estimated that 20% of infantry troops and 10% of all American troops have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Because TBI’s affect different areas of the brain in different ways, no two brain injuries are alike; therefore, a range of services that can meet individual needs and change over time is necessary. In Missouri, improvements in health care and technology are helping sufferers of brain injuries live longer lives; the need for services to assist TBI sufferers and their families is growing.

Approximately one-half of all TBI patients will need surgery to repair ruptured blood vessels (hematomas) or bruised brain tissue (contusions). Some common disabilities suffered after a TBI are problems with cognition, sensory processing, communication, and mental health/behavior. More serious head injuries may result in an unresponsive state; a coma; a vegetative state; or a persistent vegetative state.