Evacuating Special Needs Students: TBI & Near Drowning

Students who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or near drowning will require close physical safeguards and assistance in a bus evacuation. The commotion could set off a seizure.

We’ve covered a variety of medical conditions and how they impact emergency evacuations from the school bus.

In the sixth edition of the series, we’ll discuss evacuating students affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI) and those who have suffered near drowning.

Traumatic brain injury
TBI is trauma to the brain caused by an external force affecting the head and brain. The damage can affect all of the following: cognitive, communicative, behavioral, social-emotional and physical ability.

TBI occurs from trauma to the brain from falls, being hit in the head, motor vehicle accidents and other types of external physical force. The brain damage can result from the initial injury and/or from the secondary injury of the brain in the form of swelling, bleeding and increased pressure on the brain.

The causes of TBI are diverse. The top three causes are car accidents, firearms and falls. The firearm injury is often fatal, with nine out of 10 people dying from their injuries. There are no cures for a TBI.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. who suffer from a traumatic brain injury every year. The CDC states that 50,000 people die from TBI, and 85,000 people suffer long-term disabilities. Other notable statistics are that children ages zero to 4 years and adolescents from ages 15 to 19 are among the groups most likely to sustain a TBI.

Issues at school that result from a TBI can include problems with attention and concentration, planning and organization and social interactions. Other effects are impulsiveness, difficulty in controlling one’s temper and reduced ability to clearly perceive a situation.

Near drowning
A child who drowns suffers death from asphyxiation due to suffocation. The suffocation is caused by water entering the lungs and preventing oxygen from being absorbed and carried to the brain in the blood.

A child who has nearly drowned is one who has survived a drowning event but will most likely have serious secondary complications for the remainder of his or her life. These complications are due to the time the child was in the water and how long it took to resuscitate him or her.

According to the CDC, every day about 10 people in the U.S. die from drowning. Of these deaths, two are children age 14 or younger. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of injury and death for people of all ages and the second cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years. Nearly 80 percent of people who die from drowning are male.

Near drowning can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities, including memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning.

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