Nearly 1.5 million people in the United States experience traumatic brain injury (TBI)—an injury to the brain that affects its normal function—every year. Currently, about 5.3 million Americans live with disabilities associated with TBI. While not all TBIs can be prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chance of you or someone you love experiencing a traumatic brain injury.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Brain Injury Association have teamed together to come up with a list of safety tips designed to reduce the incidence of traumatic brain injury:
- Wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car.
- Buckle children into seatbelts, and be sure that young children use the appropriate safety seat or booster seat.
- Wear a helmet during high-risk activities such as riding a bike or motorcycle, playing a contact sport, using in-line skates or riding skateboard, batting and running bases in baseball and softball, riding a horse, and while participating in snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
- Lock firearms and bullets in a secure area when not in use.
- Prevent falls by using good habits. Use a step stool to grab objects on high shelves, install handrails on stairways, install window guards to prevent children from falling out, use safety gates at the entrances of stairways in homes with young children, and use shock-absorbing material on playgrounds.
While following the above safety tips will reduce your chance of suffering from a traumatic brain injury, there is no way to completely prevent a TBI. If you suspect that you or a friend or family member has experienced a TBI, immediate medical care is the best way to improve the long-term prognosis.