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Effects of traumatic brain injuries may take years to heal

Traumatic brain injuries have emerged as a significant health concern in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.7 million people in the U.S. suffer a TBI each year. Most of these injuries - approximately 75 percent - are mild-to-moderate concussions. Some experts estimate the annual costs of TBIs in the U.S., including both direct medical costs and lost work productivity, to be in the tens of billions of dollars.

Until relatively recently, doctors believed that the effects of moderate TBIs - including headaches, dizziness, changes in mood, depression and cognitive difficulties - would dissipate over time as patients rested and received proper treatment. New studies indicate, however, that the effects of traumatic brain injuries can last for years and, in some cases, may never go away.

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, in conjunction with the headache clinic at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, studied 500 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of whom had suffered a TBI during deployment. Doctors asked the patients to describe both the incidence and severity of common TBI after-effects, including headaches, and divided the data according to whether they had suffered injury five to eight years or up to four years prior to the start of the study.

Unfortunately, researchers discovered that effects of traumatic brain injuries did not dissipate over time. Among those who had suffered a TBI up to four years before the study, nearly 50 percent reported mild-to-moderate headaches and 46 percent reported severe headaches. Among those who suffered a TBI five to eight years prior to the study, 45 percent reported mild-to-moderate headaches and 51 percent reported severe headaches. The numbers were roughly the same for all other TBI symptoms, as well.

Though further study is needed, it is clear that medical science is only beginning to understand the true extent of the damage TBIs can cause.

A workers compensation attorney can help

If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or other catastrophic injury due to an on-the-job injury, contact an experienced workers compensation attorney. A knowledgeable workers compensation lawyer can assess your case and help you get the fair and adequate compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages and permanent disability. For more information about what a workers compensation attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.