Leading SA: What parents need to know about traumatic brain injuries

Dr. Caitlyn Mooney with UT Health San Antonio joined Leading SA on Sunday

SAN ANTONIO – We’ve heard of some people suffering from traumatic brain injuries, but what does that really mean?

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects.

Dr. Caitlyn Mooney, a sports medicine specialist at UT Health San Antonio, joined leading SA on Sunday to discuss what local families and parents should be aware of.

As many as 3.8 million concussions occur each year and almost half of the concussions that occur go undetected and are untreated.

Concussions are common and can happen by simply playing sports. Dr. Mooney is working to help local parents navigate the concussion protocol and what parents should know.

“A traumatic brain injury occurs when you either hit your head or your body is involved in a trauma and your head has either a direct impact or kind of moves around in your skull and has an injury,” Dr. Mooney said.

Not all concussions or TBIs are the same.

“So injuries range from mild, where you have a like a skull fracture or bleed to severe, where the person might be even unconscious and have an ambulance arrive. So of course, the ones that would be going undetected would be more on the mild range. The people who are at risk for traumatic brain injuries tend to be the people who are more risk takers, so young adults. Children are very at risk for traumatic brain injuries are very active. And then, you know, anyone doing, you know, sometimes accidental activities or motor vehicle accidents can also have a traumatic brain injury. But definitely the younger age groups tend to be more at risk. And then also, older age groups are more at risk for falls, so they can also suffer quite a large percentage of the traumatic brain injuries,” Dr. Mooney said.

Dr. Mooney said sports are one of the leading causes of TBIs, with football being the highest risk and for females, it can be soccer.

“Sport and recreational activities are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries, as well as car crashes,” Dr. Mooney said.

There are important symptoms you need to be aware of.

“There could be confusion or they’re just not acting like themselves. Other concerning things could be nausea, vomiting they can have. Vision change could be double vision, really sensitive to light. Even problems in school or balance problems can be a symptom of a concussion. So it’s quite a wide range and no concussion is really exactly the same. But those are some of the most common symptoms,” Dr. Mooney said.

You can watch the full interview with Dr. Mooney in the video player above.

About the Author

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

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