What Are the Causes and Effects of Brain Stem Injuries?

Brain stem injuries deeply impact the lives of those who have them. They can turn a person’s life upside down and affect every aspect of their existence, from work to family to future dreams. 

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself against such a catastrophic injury. By knowing how they typically occur, you can take the appropriate steps to avoid them. And by understanding the effects a brain stem injury has on an individual, you will be better prepared to face one if you or a loved one gets hurt.

What is the Function of the Brain Stem? 

The brain stem is the part of the brain that connects with the spinal column. It consists of three sections: the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata. Additionally, within the brain stem, the reticular activating system (RAS) is a grouping of neurons that controls your cycles of sleeping and waking. 

The brain stem controls many of the body’s vital processes and functions. Without it, you would not be able to maintain your balance, swallow, or breathe, and your blood pressure would be out of control. For this reason, it’s important to exercise extreme care in activities that put the brain and brain stem at risk. 

What Are Some Common Causes of Brain Injuries?

Any accident where the head can be injured is capable of causing a brain stem injury. With that being said, a few situations typically see more brain stem injuries than others. 

Traffic Accidents

Statistics clearly show that car accidents in St. Louis can lead to brain stem injuries, especially in unbelted passengers in cars. Data shows that failing to wear a seat belt significantly increases the risk of a brain stem injury. Add speed to the equation, and the unbelted passenger’s risk of this type of harm rises exponentially.  

For motorcycle riders, the sheer force of an accident on their unrestrained bodies can produce the types of movements that typically cause injury to the brain stem. These movements include hyper-flexing and hyper-twisting of the neck, which exerts extreme forces on the brain stem, causing damage. 


The hands do a great job protecting much of the head during a fall. However, the back of the head, where the brain stem is located, is more difficult to protect. 

Additionally, victims of these injuries are often unconscious as they fall or fall too fast to take protective measures. Typical fall situations include falls from ladders, houses, tops of vehicles, and trees. 

Construction Accidents

Construction sites are inherently dangerous. The risk of injury to your brain stem is augmented by the potential for falling objects, machines in motion, other workers swinging tools, and falls. Helmets offer some protection, but awareness is the key to avoiding a construction accident

Sports and Recreation Accidents

Football, rugby, and other contact sports put participants at risk of receiving a brain stem injury due to the forces exerted during play. Sports with less contact also may cause brain stem damage. In a tragic case, a young hockey player was hit with a puck and suffered a fatal brain stem injury.

What Are the Effects of Brain Stem Injuries?

As explained, the brain stem is responsible for a myriad of essential body functions. 

Damage to this part of the brain could result in a variety of health consequences, including: 

  • Death
  • Coma
  • Loss of motor function
  • Hearing and/or vision loss
  • Loss of other senses
  • Complete or partial paralysis
  • Nausea and vomiting 

Many more health problems can follow a brain stem injury, some of which may not manifest themselves immediately after an accident. This makes it important to have yourself medically evaluated after any accident resulting in head trauma. 

If there is an injury to your brain stem, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages resulting from this injury. A personal injury attorney can help with your claim and will review your case during a free consultation.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today

For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 400-0000

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1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116
(816) 408-3448

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