Blunt Force Trauma – A Major Cause of Death and Chronic Health Problems

Blunt force trauma is a type of injury that occurs when the body is hit with a blunt object. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as in a car accident, a fall, or a physical assault.

Blunt force trauma (BFT) is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 50,000 fatalities each year. BFT can be caused by a variety of mechanisms, including falls, motor vehicle crashes, violence, and sports injuries.

Blunt Force Trauma Deaths

Falls are the most common cause of BFT fatalities, accounting for about 20,000 deaths each year. Falls are especially dangerous for older adults, who are more likely to sustain serious injuries from a fall.

Motor vehicle crashes are another major cause of BFT fatalities, accounting for about 15,000 deaths each year. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-34.

Violence is a third major cause of BFT fatalities, accounting for about 10,000 deaths each year. Violence can be intentional, such as homicide or assault, or unintentional, such as a fall from a height during a fight. Indeed, all it takes is a sucker punch and someone to fall back and hit their skull on the hard floor or pavement to kill someone.

Sports injuries can also cause BFT fatalities, accounting for about 5,000 deaths each year. Sports injuries are most common in contact sports, such as football and hockey.

The mortality rate for BFT is high. About 70% of people who sustain a BFT injury die within one year. The mortality rate is even higher for people who are older, have underlying health conditions, or are injured in a high-speed crash.

I remember a friend of mine talking about someone who died at a job site where a tree limb fell and hit them on the head and they died. Indeed, blunt force trauma is one of the biggest killers around, though few know it.

Types of Blunt Force Injuries

Blunt force trauma can cause a wide range of injuries, including:

  • Head injuries: Head injuries are the most common type of blunt force trauma injury. They can range from mild concussions to severe brain injuries, such as skull fractures and brain contusions.
  • Internal injuries: Blunt force trauma can also cause internal injuries, such as damage to the liver, spleen, kidneys, and intestines. These injuries can be life-threatening.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Blunt force trauma can also cause soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, cuts, and scrapes. These injuries are usually not life-threatening, but they can be painful and can lead to infection.

Blunt force can adequately be identified as the proximate cause of death in the example of someone who experiences an automobile accident, then dies from pneumonia while in the hospital on life support.

What are blunt force trauma-related long-term chronic health issues?

Blunt force trauma can cause long-term problems, including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after a traumatic event, such as a car accident or a physical assault. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression.
  • Chronic pain: Blunt force trauma can cause chronic pain in the area of the injury. This pain can be severe and can interfere with daily activities.
  • Cognitive impairment: Blunt force trauma can cause cognitive impairment, such as difficulty with memory, concentration, and decision-making. This impairment can be mild or severe and can affect a person’s ability to work, go to school, and live independently.
  • Physical disability: Blunt force trauma can cause physical disabilities, such as paralysis, amputation, and chronic pain. These disabilities can be permanent and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

If you have experienced blunt force trauma, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you are treated, the better your chances of recovery. You may also want to consider seeking counseling or therapy to help you cope with the emotional and psychological effects of blunt force trauma.

Tips for preventing blunt force trauma

  • Wear a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle.
  • Use a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when walking or running.
  • Avoid physical violence.
  • Get regular medical checkups.

By following these tips, you can help to protect yourself from blunt force trauma and its long-term health consequences.

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