Full House star and stand-up comedian Bob Saget died unexpectedly in January as a result of head trauma. The news of his death brought attention to the seriousness of brain injuries.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury that affects how the brain works. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were about 61,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2019.

Quincy Medical Group (QMG) Neurologist Dr. Daniel Kimple shared, “As neurologists, we see a fair number of brain injuries. From our perspective, they are quite common. Certain populations who are higher risk include athletes in contact sports and elderly patients or those more likely to fall.”

If you experience an injury to your head, Dr. Kimple said it’s best to be medically examined to determine the extent of your injury.

“It is important to know with brain injuries you do not necessarily need impaired awareness or loss of consciousness to have a significant injury. Concussion is a good example of this,” he explained. “I counsel my patients that in the setting of a concussion, symptoms that may follow include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, loss of concentration, and noise sensitivity. In more severe cases of brain injury, patients may lack awareness, have seizures or even have stroke-like symptoms.”

Seeing a medical professional in a timely manner is also important. Dr. Kimple said if a brain injury is not addressed, a person may have continuing impaired coordination and focus, which could lead to lingering symptoms and the potential for another injury. This is of more concern with elderly patients.

“I have particular concern for elderly patients on anticoagulant drugs. Elderly patients are at an increased risk for subdural hematomas, which is bleeding inside the skull,” he said. “These may occur even with relatively minor trauma, especially if the patient is on an anticoagulant. Early identification with a careful exam and potential neuroimaging is key in these cases to address the problem before increasing harm may ensue.”

For more information on Neurology services at QMG, visit https://quincymedgroup.com/medical-services/neurology/.