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Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

California ranks among the states with the highest number of motorcycle accidents. Many motorcyclists who are very safety conscious will still suffer serious injuries because of another driver’s carelessness. There are many kinds of injuries that may occur when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident. Here are five of them.

Head injuries

There are two types of head injuries, closed and open. Either could cause a concussion (a cessation of the brain’s normal function due to injury), bruising, swelling and bleeding of the brain.

  1. Open head injuries:  This causes the skull to be broken or crushed, potentially injuring the brain directly and opening up the skull. This ends any physical protection of the brain, easily allowing further, direct injury to the brain and increases the risk of infection.
  2. Closed head injuries:  The skull isn’t broken, but may have fractured.  There may be a violent, rapid movement of the head and neck, causing the brain to be jarred inside the skull. This may cause the brain to bruise, swell or tear. Nerves and blood vessels could be damaged, causing internal bleeding.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

About 1.7 million TBI’s occur each year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They are caused by a blow to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal brain function.

There may be short- or long-term changes affecting thinking, sensation, language or emotions due to a TBI. The injury could cause epilepsy and increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders that become more common with age.

Spinal injuries

About 11% of motorcycle accidents involve spinal injuries, according to a study published in the medical journal Trauma in 2002. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves running through your neck and spine. Signals go back and forth between your body and your brain through the spinal cord. An injury to it disrupts or ends those signals.

Injuries can be caused by a blow fracturing or dislocating your vertebrae (the bone segments making up your spine). In most injuries the cord isn’t cut through, but injuries result when the cord is damaged when vertebrae tear or press into it. The injury may cause complete paralysis at the point of injury or limit functions and sensations of parts of the body.

Broken pelvis

The pelvis is a butterfly-shaped group of bones at the base of the spine. It supports and protects the bladder, intestines and rectum. A mild fracture may heal in several weeks without surgery. A serious fracture may be life-threatening and involve damage to the organs the pelvis protects, requiring emergency medical care and lengthy physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Sources:

What are the Potential Effects of TBI? http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/outcomes.html

Spinal injuries in motorcycle crashes: patterns and outcomes. July 2002. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12131381#

Spinal Cord Injuries. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spinalcordinjuries.html

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