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Head Injuries From Accidents Including Bicycle Accidents

Head injuries are very common among people involved in accidents. The head injury can vary from something innocuous like a small cut, to a concussion, closed head injury, open head injury, or traumatic brain injury. Even brain injuries vary greatly in level of severity.

People who ride bicycles are especially exposed to head injuries because they are sitting high above the ground and traveling at fast speeds. Oftentimes when a bicyclist loses control, they naturally protect areas of their body and as a result may end up hitting their head. This may result in bruising and internal bleeding. Sometimes, the bicycle rider crashes at such a high speed that the cyclist is unable to prevent hitting his or her head on the ground or getting hit by another vehicle. Very serious head injuries are common when bicyclists crash at high speeds and when bicycle riders are thrown over the front end of their bicycle.

Since head injuries can result from a change in speed, it is not necessary for a person to even hit their head on anything to receive a head or brain injury.

If you have been involved in any accident, and particularly a bicycle accident, you should be aware of the potential for head and brain injuries. While any head or brain injury is a serious concern, be especially alert for signs of serious head injury including signs and symptoms such as: severe bleeding, bleeding from the nose or ears, terrible headaches, loss of consciousness, loss of balance, black and blue areas in the face or head, cessation of breathing, changes in pupil size, slurred speech, and repeated vomiting.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Bicycle Accidents by: Chelsea Travers of Care Meridian Specialty Care Facility.

A traumatic brain injury is classified as any outside force, weather it hit or penetrates, that causes trauma to the head and/or brain. TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in the world today. TBI can occur in a number of different fashions, but one of the most common is due to transportation accidents, this includes bicycles.

Bicycle accidents are the primary cause of TBI among children. It is estimated that 107 cyclists under the age of fifteen die in a bicycle related accident each year and 12,000 suffer some sort of injury. Children between the ages of 0 and 20 make up approximately 23.4% of the cycling fatalities a year. Cycling accidents are not just common amongst small children and adolescents, it is reported that the average cyclist who suffers a fatal accident is a male over the age of sixteen not wearing a helmet. The most common cause of a cyclist crash is a collision with a motor vehicle. Over 540,000 cyclists visit the ER each year and of those 67,000 suffer from some sort of head trauma, which supports the statistic that head injuries account for over 60% of bicycle related fatalities. Many of those who are involved in a bicycle TBI accident need to undergo some sort of specialized treatment from either a hospital or a specialty care facility, such as CareMeridian.

Bicycle TBI accidents can sometimes be reduced by simply wearing a helmet. TBI caused by bicycle accidents cannot always be prevented, but precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood and incidence of injury.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury by: Personal Injury Attorneys Richard L. Duquette and Clayton Griessmeyer.

20% of all Traumatic Brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle-traffic crashes. A case of MTBI is an occurrence of injury to the head resulting from blunt trauma or acceleration or deceleration forces. It is often indicated by one or more of the following conditions attributable to the head injury:

  • Any period of self reported confusion, disorientation or impaired consciousness. Any period of observed or self reported dysfunction of memory. Symptoms including headache, dizziness, irritability, fatigue, or poor concentration soon after the injury.

MTBI is a medical condition where axons in the brain are damaged, due to the sheering effect of trauma in the brain. Stretching and tearing of the Axons causes damage because the Axons are blood poor. Lack of bleeding in the grey and white matter does not mean that stretching or tearing did not occur. When Axons are torn, basically, it limits the ability of the brain to send messages. Axons look like little spider webs in the brain.

When Axons are sheered, the Axons are stretched and they slow down information. The sheering of Axons is caused by an abrupt acceleration or deceleration of the brain tissue.

Symptoms of Mild Traumatic Brain Damage:

Some cognitive symptoms of brain damage are forgetfulness, lack of concentration, slowed work performance, poor reading comprehension, problem solving problems and fatigue. Other symptoms include job demotion, functional release, loss of libido, un-consciousness, cadence of speech, and slowed mental process. Also, depression due to a chemical reaction, headaches, cognitive symptoms, fatigue and emotional issues may surface. Food tastes flat, things smell funny, personality changes. Fear of re injury and someone being more susceptible to an injury is also a concern. In terms of future injury, traumatic brain injury patients have a higher incidence of epileptic seizures.

When a brain injury occurs, the functions of the neurons, nerve tracts, or sections of the brain can be affected. If the neurons and nerve tracts are affected, they can be unable or have difficulty carrying the messages that tell the brain what to do. This can result in:

  1. Thinking Changes: including memory, decision making, sequencing, judgment, attention, communication, reading and writing, thought processing, problem solving, organization, self perception and safety awareness.Examples include: things such as difficulty remembering, severe short term memory loss, unawareness of fundamental activities such as driving from work to home, forgetting the destination while in route, disillusions, lowered inhibitions, inappropriate comments, decreased capacity for multitasking, off temper behavior, inability to socialize, decreased attention to detail, fatigue, difficulty in organization, excessive anxiety, inability to drive, frightful of everyday activities.
  2. Physical Changes-including muscle movement, sleep, touch, fatigue, weakness, sexual functioning.Examples include: tenderness, lack of sleep, going to bed earlier, headaches, bad dreams, interrupted sleep, trouble eating, neck and jaw pain, fatigue, severely limited physical activity, inability to exercise.
  3. Personality and Behavioral Changes- including social skills, self monitoring, stress, motivation, anxiety, emotional control and mood swings, appropriateness of behavior, frustration.

    Examples include: inability to socialize, shutting down, disillusions, lowered inhibitions, inappropriate comments, emotional disturbance, excessive anxiety, jumpy, restless, upset, inability to complete goals, frustration with being unable to exercise, work, function proper mentally.

Consequences of Brain Injury

The consequences of a brain injury can be classified into two groups, cognitive and physical.

Cognitive Consequences Examples
Memory deficit Severe short term memory loss. Severe disorientation. Not aware of fundamental activities such as driving from work to home.
Impaired logic Decreased attention to detail when proof reading and typing documents at work, decreased capacity for multitasking, fatigue at work.
Reduced thinking speed Decreased attention to detail, unable to multitask.
Confusion Confusion/ disorientation at the scene of the accident as witnessed by self or others.
Reduced attention and concentration Decreased attention to detail, fatigue
Fatigue Fatigue
Slowed ability to process information Decreased attention to detail
Increased anxiety Excessive Anxiety
Mood swings/ easy agitation Frequent crying and avoidance of social activities.
Physical Consequences Examples
Muscle spasticity Tenderness, pain, soreness.
Headaches or Migraines Constant daily headaches. Migraines. Headaches that wake a person up.
Fatigue, increased need for sleep. Lack of sleep. Cannot sleep. Go to bed earlier to try to sleep, but can’t. Headaches, interrupted sleep, bad dreams.