Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden external, violent blow or jolt to the head produce an altered state of consciousness, which results in damage to the brain.
TBI is an umbrella term that spans a wide continuum of symptoms, disabilities and severity, thus no two traumatic brain injuries have the same consequences.
Causes of TBI include falls, sports injuries, gunshot wounds, brutal physical assaults, and road traffic accidents.
When a traumatic brain injury occurs, anything having to do with the injured person’s brain is potentially affected. The various effects of a TBI can be extremely widespread, impacting all areas of a person’s life.
This means basic body functions, like eating and sleeping, can be altered. It also means that the complex parts of your life — your emotions, your thoughts, your higher cognitive functions and your ability to communicate — can also be disrupted.
The visible and invisible effects of TBI – physical impairment, behavioral issues, language problems, depression and cognitive deficits – are often misunderstood due to a reprehensible lack of public awareness of traumatic brain injury despite the staggering amount of people injured each year.
A projected 4 million people in South Africa are currently living with the repercussion of a brain injury and the vast variety of socially alienating disabilities that can ensue following any given brain injury.