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Causes and costs of traumatic brain injuries in New York

A person may a traumatic brain injury because of a blow to the head, or it might be the result of an object penetrating the skull. Sometimes, the damage to the brain occurs when a person comes to an abrupt stop and the brain bounces against the inside of the skull. According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, brain damage can also happen hours or days after the injury because the brain may swell, or oxygen blood flow may be restricted.

The New York State Department of Health tracks TBIs that occur each year, and the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury fatalities is consistently auto accidents. For teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 years old, TBIs from car crashes are the leading cause of hospitalizations. The most common contributing factors to brain trauma in traffic collisions in New York State are lack of seat belt use, drunk driving and speeding.

Pedestrians are also at risk for traumatic brain injuries as a result of a motor vehicle crash. Of those who are hospitalized after an accident annually, over 33 percent sustain TBIs. Pedestrian injuries frequently occur because of negligent drivers who fail to obey traffic signs and signals.

The average price tag for an emergency department visit for a TBI in New York is $2,500, and a hospital stay often costs around $46,000. Initial medical expenses are often only the beginning, though. When a person sustains brain damage, rehabilitation often lasts for months, and issues such as memory loss, sensory problems, chronic pain and mood disorders can lead to long term or even permanent disabilities. 

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