According to reports, head injuries account for at least 62.6 percent of bicycle fatalities every year and 30 percent of bicycle-related ED visits in the United States. In addition, at least 75% of all bicyclists who die in accidents each year die from traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
This entails that one of the most common injuries suffered by cyclists is a head injury, and this can be anything from a cut on the cheek to a traumatic brain injury. Note that wearing a helmet may reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent.
In recent times, cycling has grown to become a popular activity for exercise, recreation, or even transportation. However, any time you hop on a bike, you put yourself at risk of an accident. Note that head injuries are quite common in these types of crashes owing to the vulnerability of the cyclist and the nature of most bicycle collisions.
Head injuries can alter a person’s brain activity and if the injury is not examined by a doctor immediately, it could worsen over time. There is a high possibility for cyclists to suffer multiple injuries in an accident – often traumatic brain injuries. Note that when you fall off your bike, you get little or no opportunity to grip yourself or control how you land.
Most often, riders hit their head, and this is why head injuries are so prevalent in this type of crash. Sadly, many of these accidents involving head injuries graduate in permanent brain damage or even death. A bike helmet remains a cyclist’s best line of defense; especially since it reduces the risk of head injury by more than 50%.
Common Head Injuries Cyclists Frequently Sustain
Note that when you hit your head in a bicycle-related accident, numerous types of injuries may result, and almost all of them have the potential to be life-threatening. Nonetheless, here are some of the most common head injuries to cyclists:
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
TBIs are used to describe any injury to the brain as a result of trauma (more or less from blunt trauma, a severe shake, or penetration). Depending on the exact part of your brain that is hit or injured; a TBI can instigate cognitive, physical, and/or behavioral impairments. This form of injury can range in severity and you can find patients who recover within a year or less, while some will suffer permanent disabilities.
This is a form of traumatic brain injury, and experts in the medical field tend to categorize them as “mild” TBIs. Have it in mind that its impacts on a victim’s life can be far from merely “mild.” Concussion symptoms can last for weeks or months and some of the common symptoms include headaches, memory issues, mood swings, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
Although the skull is known to be a strong bone in the human body, it can genuinely be fractured due to certain levels of trauma. Have it in mind that this sort of fracture might involve depressions in the skull or cracks, and pieces of your skull might chip off or even shift inward.
According to experts, shifting skull fractures can cause the skull piece to pierce or add more pressure on your brain tissue and this will most often lead it to tear or bleed resulting in a TBI. A good number of people with skull fractures need surgery.
At least 40 percent of people who sustain head trauma will develop intracranial hematomas, or blood pooling and clotting on or inside the brain. This will more or less increase intracranial pressure, and this can be life-threatening. Hematomas are known to have many symptoms similar to other TBIs, and the recovery time can vary depending on the patient.
They are also quite different from a brain contusion especially since the bleeding of the brain is caused by a ruptured blood vessel. The brain is also known to need the steady circulation of oxygen and when a blood vessel breaks there is no space left for the oxygen to circulate. Intra-cranial hemorrhaging can also lead a person to suffer from a stroke.
Head trauma can also lead to fractures on your face (such as your cheekbones, eye sockets, nose, forehead, or jaw). Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bleeding, bruising, and numbness, while fractures to the facial bones may also cause difficulty in breathing, speaking, or seeing.
Maxillofacial trauma may also involve serious or life-threatening symptoms, such as brain injury, excessive bleeding, or shock. Treatment for maxillofacial trauma tends to vary exponentially depending on the type and severity of the injury.
According to experts, brain contusion refers to when the brain develops bruises from a blunt force to the head. This type of injury will cause swelling and bleeding of the brain. Also, note that these bruises can vary from minor cuts to severe head injuries.
Have it in mind that contusions are equivalent to blood clots and if large enough they will require surgical procedures to be removed. Signs of contusions or the progression of contusions are not formed until two or three days later. Always remember to keep an eye out for symptoms such as confusion, sleepiness, vomiting, or seizures.