Falls are the number one cause of brain injuries worldwide. Often, people fall because the ground is slippery or damaged in some way that catches the person’s foot while walking. Poor lighting, steps and ramps that don’t comply with code requirements and dangerous holes in parking lots can all lead to a tumble. Although an unsafe walking condition usually results in more embarrassment than pain, when someone does hit his or her head, the consequences can be grave.
Why is Brain Damage So Common?
Unfortunately, head injuries are a very common result of falls. Many falls result in landing head first forcing the skull and brain to absorb the brunt of the force. Even if you don’t land head first the momentum built up during the fall can cause brain damage by stretching and tearing axons that send vital information through the brain.
The base of the brain is attached to the spinal column and nowhere else is it fixed in position. This allows the brain to move within the skull and protects it from damage from minor impacts. The brain is surrounded by cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) that protects it from the inside of the skull which is rigid and bony. Because the brain is only fixed in place by the spinal cord, when the head is shaken or impacted rapidly the brain moves separately from the skull. Eventually, the brain may push past the CSF and slam into the skull, causing brain bruising and other damage. This bruising can lead to swelling that cuts off blood flow to important parts of the brain, killing brain cells in mere minutes. When the brain is rocked, it can strike the skull in multiple locations and cause damage to each point of contact. This is referred to as a coup contrecoup injury.
Don’t Believe the Hype
There are a lot of misconceptions about brain injuries. If you or a friend “will be okay” or “feel fine” after a fall where your head was rocked or impacted something, you should see a doctor right away.
Even a minor impact to the head can cause concussion and other brain injuries. Yes, a concussion is a brain injury. Still don’t believe us? Download our free Layman’s Guide to Brain Injuries to learn about it for yourself.
There is no need to have lost consciousness or be bleeding externally for there to be serious brain damage. The majority of concussions occur without any loss of consciousness. Feeling dazed, confused, hazy or out of it can all be signs of a concussion.
Closed head injuries, where the brain suffers trauma without any penetration of the skull, account for 75% of all traumatic brain injuries. That means 75% of the time, you cannot see the damage with your own eyes.
The importance of getting prompt medical assistance after a head injury cannot be stressed enough. CT scans and MRIs are the best way to diagnose an acute injury to the brain that involves bleeding or swelling.
Have You Been Injured In A Slip And Fall Accident?
If you've been hurt in a slip and fall accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free consultation.