The leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S.

Were people in Philadelphia asked to guess which accidents were most likely to cause brain trauma, most may answer with catastrophic accidents like car crashes or assaults. Yet according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, simple falls are America’s most common cause of traumatic brain injury. When considering this surprising statistic, many may be compelled to ask who is at the greatest risk of such accidents and how to protect one’s head during a fall.

Accidents classified as falls can range anywhere between falling off of something to simply falling after stepping on a slippery surface. Those who are particularly at risk of injury from such accidents are the elderly. Yet falls are by no means age discriminant. According to the CDC study, over half of the traumatic brain injuries that occur with children are caused by falls.

Yet adults are not immune from such accidents, either. Data compiled by HSP Supply and National Safety Products shows that falls are the leading cause of accidents in the home, as well as in hotels, restaurants, and public buildings. Falls are also the cause of over 30 percent of workplace injuries. All told, 57 percent of those accidents result in permanent disability.

One of the main reasons why so many traumatic brain injuries are the result of falls is because they can happen so quickly and unexpectedly. Thus, fall victims have little time to protect their heads from striking a solid surface, be it tile, concrete or asphalt. Even when they do react, victims tend to try and brace themselves for impact. Experts recommend instead that fall victims cover their heads if they can, even if it means injuring other areas or dropping their personal items. Such things can be replaced; the brain cannot.


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