With the fall sports season now in full swing, Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (WVAC) is working to raise awareness about traumatic brain injury. Improved prevention, recognition, and response can help address this important public health problem. The WVAC provides pre-hospital care to victims (adult, children and teen) of traumatic brain injury. The most common causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are vehicle crashes, falls, sports injuries, and violence. Each year, approximately 50,000 people die from brain injuries and 80,000 to 90,000 people experience long-term disability from brain injury. Thus the saying used by doctors, “Touch the brain, never the same,” has validity.
TBI is defined as a temporary or permanent alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force, while an acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth. Examples of acquired brain injury include stroke, near drowning, tumor, neurotoxins, electric shock or lightning strike.
The emergency medical technicians of the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (WVAC) are trained in using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to assess anyone experiencing an acute brain injury. The GCS is a standardized system used to assess the degree of brain impairment and to identify the seriousness of injury in relation to outcome. The scale is based on three elements:
- Eye opening (range 4-1);
- Verbal responses (range 5-1);
- Motor response or movement (6-1).