Brain Injury Association of America Shines a Light on Concussion-Related Deaths Following Auto, Bicycle, and Motorcycle Accidents
The Brain Injury Association of America highlights the month of March as Brain Injury Awareness Month. For the past few years, its theme has been #NotAlone, and the goal of the awareness campaign is to educate the public about the occurrences of brain injuries and how those injuries not only impact the individual who suffered it but his or her family. This is critical to keep in mind because brain injury is one of the most common injuries sustained in motorcycle and bicycle accidents. With individual action, it’s a safety issue that can be avoided or minimized, but sadly many people don’t take proper precautions, and the results can be devastating.
Traumatic Brain Injuries Kill Over 100 People a Day
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the cause of 30 percent of all injury deaths each year. But what exactly is TBI? The Brain Injury Hope Foundation, located in Littleton, Colorado, explains that TBI is:
“Caused by a bump, blow, jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.”
Some bumps end up being minor and may only cause a mild concussion, while others, especially those caused by something dramatic like a car accident, can cause severe medical trauma, if not death. As a matter of fact, in 2013, auto accidents resulting in a brain injury were among the leading causes of why people were sent to the emergency room. According to one brain injury awareness organization, when it came to vehicle crashes, TBI was the leading cause of death for those ages 5-24 years.
Those who treat patients suffering from brain injuries note that wearing a seat belt and properly restraining young children every time you get in a vehicle reduces serious injuries and death from auto accidents by nearly 50 percent. So, we go back to a familiar theme, taking personal responsibility for your safety. The first thing you must do to keep yourself safe in a vehicle is to buckle up no matter where in the vehicle you are seated. Also, make sure young passengers are properly belted in as well.
Proper Helmet Usage Is Critical to Safety
It’s not only vehicle accidents that cause head injuries, bicycle and motorcycle accidents are also the culprit of many injuries and deaths. One thing you can do to increase your safety if you are riding a bicycle or motorcycle is to wear a helmet. And yet, when it comes to motorcycle accidents in Colorado, most of those killed last year were not wearing a helmet. In 2017, 125 people riding motorbikes were killed, and authorities say most were riding with no protection on their head. Those familiar with state motorcycle laws know that those 18 years of age or older are not required to wear a helmet even though it could mean the difference between life and death. Over the years, as many as 65 percent of those fatally injured in motorcycle accidents were not wearing a helmet.
And the same holds true for those on bicycles. Last year, an article in a Denver newspaper highlighted the fact that cycling deaths are rising by more than 50 people per year. The latest statistics, which were noted in 2015, showed that 818 cyclists were killed that year, and not surprisingly, more than half of them were not wearing a helmet. That same year, another 45,000 bicyclists were injured in accidents. As in most states, Colorado does not require those riding a bike to wear a helmet, but according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), 75 percent of bicyclist accident deaths are the result of a head injury. By doing the simple task of strapping on a helmet, riders can reduce the severity of a brain injury by nearly 90 percent.
Brain injuries must be taken seriously. Simple steps, like wearing a seat belt and a helmet if on a bike or motorcycle can not only save your life but reduce your chances of a head injury if you are involved in an accident.