Traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are among the most devastating – and the most common – injuries that someone can suffer.
TBIs are most often caused by gunshots, assaults, falls, contact sports and motor vehicle accidents. While some TBIs, like concussions, may eventually resolve, there’s really no such thing as a “minor” brain injury. A lot of that has to do with the nature of the brain itself.
Your brain is subject to unique dangers
The brain is composed of billions of neurons, which are highly specialized cells responsible for transmitting information. These neurons have intricate connections and complex functions. When a brain injury occurs, the disruption to these connections and functions can be challenging to repair or regenerate.
It’s often hard to tell just how serious a brain injury may be, especially right after an accident. This is due to:
- Nerve cell loss: Traumatic brain injuries often result in the loss of neurons, which are the brain’s main building blocks. Unlike some other tissues in the body that can regenerate, neurons are not easily replaced. Once neurons are damaged, the brain has a limited ability to generate new neurons to replace them.
- Scar formation: In response to a brain injury, the brain forms scar tissue at the site of the damage. While scar tissue helps to stabilize the injured area, it also creates a physical barrier that inhibits the regrowth of neurons and their connections. Scar tissue on the brain can even lead to satellite conditions, like mesial temporal sclerosis and epilepsy.
- Inflammation and secondary damage: Following a brain injury, inflammation occurs as part of the body’s immune response. However, excessive or prolonged inflammation can cause further damage to a brain’s delicate tissues, and the swelling against a victim’s skull can actually damage the brain more extensively than the initial traumatic blow.
Despite these limitations, the brain does possess some capacity for neuroplasticity, which is the ability to form new connections and “rewire.” This process can contribute to some degree of recovery and adaptation after a brain injury.
Rehabilitation, physical therapy and other medical interventions can also support the brain’s healing and recovery processes – but those are all expensive. If your loved one has suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s action or inaction, it’s best to learn more about what compensation might be available. Seeking legal guidance can be helpful, as a result.