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Supporting New Zealanders Living With Brain Injury

WHAT IS BRAIN INJURY?

Brain injury is a general term referring to any injury to the brain. The following are all examples of brain injury:

  • Strokes and aneurysms
  • Infections, such as meningitis
  • Hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain)
  • Brain tumours
  • Neurotoxic disorders: drugs and alcohol, pesticides, gases, solvents can all lead to a brain injury

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
is injury to the brain resulting from externally inflicted trauma.

There are 2 types of TBI:

Closed: blunt impact or blow to the head without penetrating the skull e.g. motor vehicle crash, fall.

Open: when skull penetrated by a sharp object or an explosive missile e.g. bullet wounds.

The major causes of TBI are motor vehicle crashes, followed by sports injuries, assaults and falls. The highest risk groups for sustaining TBI are children under 5 years of age, men aged 15-30 years, and the elderly.

Severity of Injury
TBIs are classified as mild, moderate or severe injuries, depending on the length of time a person has been unconscious and the loss of memory they have. Mild TBI is also known as a concussion.

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