Reported head injuries are on the rise in Longmont; trauma doctors remind residents to use safety equipment – Longmont Times-Call
Longmont trauma doctors say there is an increase in reported cases of brain injuries and head injuries, but attribute it to lack of use of safety equipment among young people and baby boomers, federal laws on mandatory reporting and return to normal after the near end of the pandemic.
Colorado ranks ninth in the country in head injury deaths, according to the Denver-based Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado, the state non-profit organization responsible for maintaining head injury records in response to federal law. Colorado records about 1,000 deaths per year and ranks 13th for hospitalizations with about 5,000 residents hospitalized each year. The agency also reports that Longmont ranks second in the state in both categories and is seeing a 2% increase from 2019.
About 23,500 Colorado residents go to the emergency room each year for traumatic brain injury; 15% of them are from Longmont. Men are twice as likely to have a brain injury and five times as likely in Longmont.
Gen Z and Baby Boomers have the highest risk of head injury in Colorado, most heavily weighted by those aged 15 to 24 and residents 65 and older.
“It’s an unfortunate statistic that’s totally preventable most of the time,” said Dr. Devin Rickett, director of the UCHealth Longs Peak emergency room. “One of those prevention tactics is to wear safety gear when you are biking, rappelling, climbing, skiing, sledding, skateboarding, or any other outdoor sport. extreme air that the Colorados, and in particular the residents of Longmont, can enjoy all year round.
Rickett said: “While UCHealth Longs Peak is not necessarily seeing a measurable increase in head injury cases at this hospital – there are several aggravating factors that attribute to the state reporting higher cases.” He said these include a federal mandate to report all head injuries and brain injuries and the influx of people.
“It really makes good sense when it comes to outdoor activities when it comes to safety and head injury prevention – like riding a bike, which includes wearing a helmet and wrist guards. as well as modeling that behavior for our children, ”Centura Health Longmont United The hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr Antony Pearson, said.
Pearson said: “We are seeing more head injuries and brain damage as people return to normal life after the pandemic, but also because now people are not so afraid to come to the hospital anymore,” said Pearson.
“It’s not just a return to normal life,” added Pearson. “It’s also the mentality of older generations that safety gear is unattractive – like the ‘hold my beer’ generation and baby boomers, who enjoy life after parenthood or even as parents. ” In general, Pearson said Longmont United Hospital sees more head injuries among residents in their late 20s to early 40s and those aged 65 and older.
“If we see a pediatric case, it’s often from a skateboard, bicycle or sleigh accident where the child was not wearing safety gear,” Pearson explained.
On December 21, 2018, former President Donald Trump enacted the Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization Act of 2018, directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to implement a National Concussion Surveillance System, or NCSS. , to better monitor and study the head and brain trauma. The law provides grants to states to better assist brain injury survivors and helps deepen state research and data collection.
The 2018 law stems from the 1996 BIT Act enacted by former President Bill Clinton on July 29, 1996. It was revised to allocate funds to various health agencies outside of the CDC, such as the National Institutes of Health and Administration for Community Vivant. In 2000, the amended law required national health agencies to launch an education and awareness program on head and head injuries.
In 2008, the BIT Act was amended to include injured veterans in the line of duty and ordered national health agencies to work with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The 2014 Amendment directed the CDC and NIH to coordinate an improved plan to track and study head and head injuries, as well as to review the scientific evidence related to head injuries in children, especially youth sports. , to be produced in a semi-annual report.
“Most residents hear a head injury, or head injury, and instantly attribute it to people with shaken baby syndrome; people who have suffered from epilepsy or seizures; people who have suffered one or more strokes; residents who have been involved in a collision with a vehicle causing serious injury; or victims who have been assaulted; and most often to those who have suffered injuries from a high fall, but that is not what current studies indicate that the majority of TBIs come from here in Colorado and Longmont, ”explained Rickett.
“Currently, the majority of serious brain damage comes from athletic activities among youth and residents who participate in extreme winter and summer sports,” added Rickett. “Injuries can take all forms, such as concussions and less serious head injuries from falls or car crashes.”
“With the implementation of NCSS, physicians can follow previous studies, active studies and see future studies related to head and brain trauma and see what is working and what is not working for patients nationwide,” Rickett said. “The highlight of this is that our doctors can use cutting edge therapies and diagnostics to treat patients here at Longmont using the information reported on the NCSS.”
There are three types of head trauma. Rickett and Pearson said residents should be aware and categorized by severity based on factors such as loss of consciousness, loss of balance and amnesia.
- Grade 1 Soft: A typical concussion in which patients recover quickly, usually within an hour, and experience only mild forms of side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, no loss of consciousness, and vomiting;
- Level 2 Moderate: usually caused by a subdural hematoma or brain hemorrhage inside the skull; symptoms are worsened and persist for more than 15 minutes, vomiting persists and usually requires medical intervention;
- Grade 3 Severe: rare and symptoms may be delayed for up to a month, include brain bleeding and require medical intervention.
Other symptoms may include: drowsiness, inability to wake up or being too lethargic, one pupil dilates more than the other, slurred speech or decreased coordination, persistent and severe headache, prolonged nausea and vomiting , states of confusion and increased loss of consciousness.
“It sounds scary, but if a patient has an immediate goose egg at the head impact site, it is a good sign that it is a mild head injury or less,” Pearson explained. “Any head injury should at least be discussed with an individual’s primary care physician. “
“We recommend brain rest for any head trauma or brain injury for at least a week after an incident,” Pearson said. Brain rest does not include reading books, not spending time in front of a screen, and not resuming sporting or shocking activities for at least a week after being asymptomatic.
UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital and Centura Longmont United Hospital both have doctors and neurological surgeons staffed daily and always on duty.