Anyone who works can incur a fall injury, regardless of whether you work on a construction site or in an office. This is because a fall injury could occur from a simple trip, like tripping over an extension cord. It does not have to be a severe fall from New York City scaffolding or into a large pit. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a hallmark of falls, but because they are hidden, some employees do not know to get checked for them.
Traumatic brain injuries explained
TBIs occur when the brain is damaged in some way. This could a by a physical puncture, a blow to the head or even just severe jolts to the body that cause the brain to impact the side of your head. Because the brain is not visible, a TBI can go unnoticed without medical intervention. This is why fall injuries incur TBIs so often; a fall can easily cause a direct head impact in addition to severe jolts to the body.
Common signs of mild TBIs
First, while TBIs can be described as minor, this does not mean they are not serious and cannot get worse if left untreated. The most common symptoms of a mild TBI is a headache that does not seem to go away and nausea that may or may not lead to vomiting.
More severe signs of TBIs
Any loss of consciousness is a huge red flag, as is any draining of liquids from the nose or ears. Pupil dilation is another key TBI indicator, as are sensory issues, like ringing ears. If you find it hard to maintain your balance, stay awake or fall asleep in an extreme manner, these are all signs of a TBI.
What should I do if I think I have a TBI?
Regardless of whether you think that you have a TBI, if you experienced a fall, you should go to your doctor to be checked out for injuries, including TBIs. If it was a severe fall or it was especially hard, please consider going to the emergency room or calling 9-1-1. And, if you fell on the job, workers’ compensation can cover a portion of our wages and your medical bills.