Each winter, thousands of people seek relief from cabin fever by braving the cold and getting active with outdoor activities. While winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and ice skating are a great way to stay active and healthy during the winter months, they unfortunately also come with a high risk of head injury. Any type of head injury can put a person at risk for a traumatic brain injury (TBI), including those that may seem relatively mild. TBI can cause a range of disabilities, including difficulties with language and cognition, so it is important to be as cautious as possible when dealing with possible head injuries. What can you do to stay safe?
Protect Your Head! Don’t underestimate the importance of using appropriate protective gear. Use a helmet with any sport that carries a risk of head injury. Each time you use a helmet, take a close look to make sure it isn’t damaged, and make sure it fits properly, especially if you’re wearing other head gear, like a hat—if a helmet doesn’t fit right, its ability to protect you is significantly compromised.
Take All Head Injuries Seriously: All too often, people consider injuries like a concussion “minor.” But even head injuries that seem minor can have hidden consequences down the road. If you or a loved one sustains any type of head injury, no matter how seemingly harmless, you should seek medical attention to rule out larger issues.
Know the Signs: After a head injury (even a “minor” one!), keep an eye out for any change in behavior. While some symptoms of brain injury are obvious, like loss of consciousness or memory loss, others are much more subtle and may go unnoticed unless you know what to look for. If a person who has had a recent head injury is experiencing headaches, decreased coordination, listlessness, confusion, irritability, or a change in sleeping patterns, see a medical professional. Remember: these symptoms don’t always occur immediately, so be mindful of any changes for several weeks following injury.
Want to learn more? Check in with us again next week, when we’ll discuss some of the consequences of TBI, how it can impact speech, language, and communication, and how a speech-language pathologist can help!
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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