Wyoming is beautiful and rugged, and to enjoy the great outdoors, many
people choose to accept a certain amount of risk with activities including
horseback riding, rock climbing, four-wheelers, and mountain biking. Imagine
horseback riding through the Big Horns when suddenly your horse is spooked.
You get thrown from the horse and you hit your head on a rock. Brain injuries
take a second to occur, but can result in a lifetime of change.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function
that occurs after birth. It can be caused by a sudden external force such
as a gunshot wound or falling and striking your head. The severity of
the TBI is determined at the time of the injury and may be classified
as: mild, moderate or severe. Concussion is another word for a mild TBI.
According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of TBI in 2013 was falls. Being struck by an
object was the second leading cause, followed by motor vehicle crashes.
Adolescents are more inclined to engage in the types of behavior that can
result in TBIs such as riding ATVs or competitive horseback riding. According to the
World Health Organization adults over the age of 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls. Many
sources claim men are greater risk takers than women, and often find themselves
in the emergency department due to accidental injuries and car accidents.
CDC describes TBIs as a serious public health problem that can result in death or lifelong
disability. TBI may affect cognitive, emotional, and motor functioning,
and limit an individual’s ability to participate in activities of
We must take responsibility for preventing TBIs as this type of injury
can significantly impact not only the person injured, but also their friends
and families in many ways. The CDC provides practical ways to reduce risk
and prevent TBI, including:
Wearing seat belts and using proper
child safety seats.
- Wear helmets when riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or all-terrain
vehicle; playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing;
using in-line skates or riding a skateboard; batting and running bases
in baseball or softball; riding a horse; or skiing or snowboarding.
- Make living areas safer for the elderly by removing tripping hazards; using
nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors; or installing grab bars
in the bathroom.
- Making sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material.
If you have sustained a traumatic brain injury and you are having trouble
paying attention, understanding others, expressing yourself, or remembering
contact your physician to see if you are appropriate for
If you or your loved one has suffered a brain injury and you are interested
in connecting with other individuals in our community who have had similar
experiences, join us on the first Thursday of every month for the
Brain Injury Support Group. The Support Group takes place at The Legacy Living & Rehabilitation
Center First Floor Conference Room, 1000 S. Douglas Highway, from 6-8
pm. Refreshments are provided. Learn more about the group at
Whitney White, MA, CCC-SLP, is a Speech and Language Therapist at Campbell County Health
Rehabilitation Services in the Stocktrail Building, 508 Stocktrail Avenue in Gillette. Individuals
should be referred to a speech therapist by their doctor if they are having
trouble swallowing food, liquids, or medication. To learn more about the
Speech Therapy services available at Campbell County Health Rehabilitation
www.cchwyo.org/speech or call 307.688.8000.
Check out these links for more information: