The tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson yesterday has raised new concerns over the need for prevention and early detection of mild traumatic brain injuries. While the first few hours after an injury has occurred are the most crucial in determining the severity of an injury, it is imperative to keep a watchful eye for the next 48-72 hours. As in the case of Richardson, no immediate symptoms were found after a fall during a ski lesson. However, it was the head pain which followed a few hours later that alerted her to the injury which later caused her death.

Prevention of brain injuries is also a subject we need to be more consciously aware of. If Richardson had been wearing a helmet while skiing, the likelihood of suffering a brain injury would have decreased dramatically. Wearing a helmet while riding a bike or motorcycle, or playing sports, such as football, soccer and skiing, will greatly increase your chances of preventing a brain injury before it has the chance to occur.

I found an interesting article on CNN.com today which discusses several common misconceptions associated with mild traumatic brain injuries. I also found a Q&A section on Good Morning America’s website which answers common questions people are asking in response to Richardson’s death.