The CDC defines traumatic brain injury as a disruption in normal brain functions caused by a jolt, bump, or blow to the head. A concussion happens when a traumatic brain injury temporarily changes brain functions. In West Virginia, 42 percent of TBI-related hospitalizations involve people over 65 and around six percent involve ages up to 24. The leading causes of concussions in emergency departments are falls, assaults, sports, and motor vehicle trauma.
Causes of concussions
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, around 47 percent of the TBI visits in West Virginia are attributed to falls. For ages up to 24, falls account for approximately 54 percent of all TBI visits. For ages 65 and older, falls accounted for 79 percent of the TBI-related ED-related visits. Around 24 percent of children and teens younger than 15 develop TBI from blunt force trauma sustained in sports activities.
Risk factors for concussions
Overall, people over age 64 and younger than 24 are more likely to suffer a concussion. Anyone with a history of brain injuries also faces a greater risk of suffering a concussion in the future. Female athletes, people living riskier lifestyles, and people who suffer migraines may also be more likely to develop concussions. Contact sports like football, lacrosse, hockey, and women’s soccer have higher rates of concussions. The position played and style of play may also be contributing factors.
Overcoming concussion injuries
Risky behavior like drinking and driving increases the likelihood of suffering a concussion or causing one for someone else. Concussions result from the brain making contact with the inside of the skull, so it doesn’t always have to be an acute or repetitive blow to the head, rapid acceleration or deceleration in an accident may be enough to leave one concussed.