Traumatic brain injuries are a serious problem in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and throughout the U.S.

Recent legal action over the long-range impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) involving the National Football League (NFL) and its players has been extensively reported by the news media. For example, the New York Times ran a wide-ranging series of articles addressing the high-profile NFL lawsuit. The New York Times articles also explored the effect of traumatic brain injuries on children.

Although the media has tended to focus on traumatic brain injuries in the context of NFL players or young children in youth football leagues, it is important that we not lose sight of the potential for devastating head injuries to persons of all ages and in a variety of contexts. One of the leading causes of TBI in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is car accidents. Even a relatively mild “fender bender” can result in serious head trauma.

In the past, health care professionals may have described a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. However, research has revealed that the effects of a concussion can be significant and long-lasting. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) have conducted important research to better define the impact that serious head injuries can have on the ability of human beings to function, grow, and engage in ordinary activities.

A traumatic brain injury is just what it sounds like – damage to the brain caused by trauma. When a fall or a blow to the body causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth, the end result can be a kind of “whiplash” to the skull that causes the brain to slam against the inner parts of the skull. This is commonly referred to as a “concussion.”

Thanks to research, we now know that even a “mild” brain injury can have a far-reaching impact on the ability of a person to function. That’s because the brain cells are the biological connectors of chemical and electrical impulses that transmit information within the brain and ultimately to every part and function of a human being. Damaged cells can profoundly alter our physical, mental, and emotional function – in effect, our entire manner of being in the world in which we live.

Traumatic brain injuries are often caused by the wrongdoing of others. Thankfully, the legal system is beginning to recognize the severity of TBI by holding drivers, schools, business owners, and athletic teams accountable for their negligence.

If you or a loved one has experienced a concussion or any type of head injury caused by the negligence another person, it is important for you to contact both a physician and an attorney. Many symptoms of head trauma will not be noticed for several weeks or months. When the effects of a head injury are felt, you will want to have a report of the accident or initial negligence leading to the injury so any long-term symptoms can be medically and legally traced back to the source accident. This is especially true if your child has suffered any kind of head trauma.

Whether the head injury was caused by an auto accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or any other type of incident, it is imperative that you seek the advice of the best professionals to protect yourself and your loved ones.

To learn more about traumatic brain injuries, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.