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Understanding the complications of a traumatic brain injury

Whether it is through a work accident, a sporting accident or a car accident, every day, Pennsylvanians suffer traumatic brain injuries. Sometimes these injuries are so severe that they affect a person's everyday life, including his or her ability to work. In fact, sometimes the aftereffects of a traumatic brain injury are so severe that a person may become permanently disabled. Therefore, it is important to understand what complications can stem from a traumatic brain injury.

First of all, if the injury is severe enough, the victim could experience an altered state of consciousness. For example, he or she could fall into a coma. If so, many areas of the brain could be damaged. In some cases, a person can awake from a coma, but in other cases, he or she can slip further down into a vegetative state. Sometimes a vegetative state becomes permanent, but there also is the chance that a person could improve to at least a minimally conscious state.

A traumatic brain injury also can cause a person to suffer from seizures. If these seizures reoccur, it is known as post-traumatic epilepsy. A person suffering from this condition may find going about their day-to-day tasks very difficult.

Furthermore, a person who suffers from a traumatic brain injury could experience fluid buildup. This fluid puts pressure on a person's brain and causes it to swell. Damages to a person's blood vessels also have the potential to lead to a stroke.

Infections, such as meningitis, could also occur and affect a person's nerves. A person's nerves could also be damaged if the person suffered cranial nerve damage. This could result in facial paralysis, vision loss and swallowing problems, among other complications.

In addition, a person could suffer from cognitive problems, executive functioning problems, communication problems and behavior problems. All of these problems could cause a person to be unable to function socially or could cause a person to be unable to perform the same mental tasks that he or she was able to before the injury.

A person who has been left permanently disabled due to a traumatic brain injury may want to seek Social Security disability benefits for injuries. However, like any other injury or illness, certain factors must be met for a person to be eligible for such benefits. Learning more about how one's injury affects his or her eligibility for benefits is important in situations like these.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Traumatic brain injury," accessed April 26, 2015

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