By Kendra Jorgensen-Wagers Ph.DMarch 9, 2018
The month of March is dedicated to brain injury awareness and prevention. Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also referred to more commonly as a concussion, is a very common injury in the civilian and military sector.
Traumatic brain injury occurs across a spectrum of severity from mild to severe. Mild TBI is defined by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center as "a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain."
It may knock you out briefly or for an extended period of time, or make you feel confused or see stars, an alteration of consciousness.
A mild traumatic brain injury is an event, not a disability.
At the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic and across Europe, our staff of providers are actively engaged in educating our community about concussion and the importance of seeking care quickly. We want our community to understand that concussive events can happen to anyone but with prompt care, patients can usually expect a full recovery. This also helps military and their units maintain readiness.
Traumatic brain injury has often been referred to as the signature injury of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because some service members have experienced blast or vehicle accidents resulting in a concussion.
However, most mTBI events occur in garrison. And, mTBI can occur due to a multitude of other types of accidents and injuries such as slip and fall accidents, bicycle accidents, sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents or combatives training.
Not all blows to the head will cause a concussion, but sometimes that blow to the head can be more than a concussion as well.
It is important to visit the emergency room or see a primary care provider immediately following a potentially concussive event so that you get the evaluation and the education needed for a quick recovery. Patients who suffer a mild TBI and treat it early have the best chance for a full recovery.
Unfortunately, mTBI diagnosis is easily missed because it often occurs with other significant injuries. For example, a car accident might cause mTBI as well as broken bones, whiplash, and other injuries. The concussion could be missed among all the other medical concerns the patient has at the time.
The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Defense Veterans Brain Injury Center team has worked hard to teach people how to recognize traumatic brain injury, including LRMC staff, local Child Youth and School Services, Child Development Centers and schools to ensure TBI is caught and treated as early as possible.