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Study sheds new light on damage from mild TBIs

A mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be far more serious than many people -- including doctors -- once realized. In addition, the lack of follow-up care for patients with mild TBIs may be a big problem and lead to long-term functional limitations.

A new study by the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee looked at the functional limitations of a number of trauma patients -- 1,154 with mild TBIs and 299 without head trauma. While the two groups reported similar statistics regarding their functional limitations just two weeks after being injured, that picture changed a year later. By the one-year mark, 53% of patients who had suffered mild TBIs still had significant limitations. Meanwhile, only 38% of patients with orthopedic injuries and no head trauma reported the same.

Part of the problem may be that there isn't much support for victims of mild TBIs once they're out of the hospital. Those who suffer moderate or severe brain injuries usually get long-term treatment and assistance. However, someone with a mild injury is often presumed capable of healing on their own. They aren't "sick enough" to go into residential care where they can get help for their limitations. However, they also aren't "well enough" to return to normal.

It's a bad spot to be in. This study is one of many that have been taking another look at the effect of mild TBIs on people's lives, and researchers are discovering that the victims often suffer lasting physical, cognitive and psychological deficits. For example, even mild TBIs have been shown to increase an individual's risk of suicide.

If you have suffered a TBI in a South Dakota accident caused by another person's negligence, you need to learn more about your right to compensation. A TBI can have a catastrophic effect on your life and future, and you deserve the best possible care. That takes resources. A lawsuit may provide you with those.

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