Yusuf Buhari – Understanding Head Injury.

Yusuf Buhari
Yusuf Buhari

Yesterday we received reports that our dear President’s son, Yusuf  Buhari suffered a  while riding his Power bike in Abuja.

According to PREMIUM TIMES: “ had a bike accident last night around Gwarimpa in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,” Mr. Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“He broke a limb and had an injury to the head as a result. He has undergone surgery at a clinic in Abuja. He is in a stable condition.”

What is head injury?

As the name implies, head injury is injury to the head – Simple? Not quite.

Injuring your head while cutting your hair is not head injury.

A finger nail scratch to the head is not head injury.

A burst boil on the head is not head injury.

Head injury occurs when a blow to the head is of such significance that things begin to happen in the brain or other parts of the body.

What causes head injury?

Usually it is due to high impact and high velocity forces, this could be from falling from a height and knocking one’s head, road traffic accidents e.g car – car colilsion, car- bike  collision, car to pedestrian collision, some sports like boxing and soccer or as in this case losing control of a motorcycle.

Use of some drugs and can also increase the likelihood of a person having an head injury.

What are the things that happen to the body in head injury?

One of the major signs a person has had a head injury after a collision is confusion or a coma, they may start to talk and behave irrationally not in keeping with their normal persona. Eventually they may fall into a coma.

They could have problems with their sense of smell, hearing or vision.

There may be restlessness, jerking and stiffness of the limbs.

There may be loss of memory.

They could have fractures in various parts of their body; if they fracture their skull,  one may notice  fluid coming out of their nose.

What is the treatment?

One of the most important tests that need to be done is a of the brain. This is especially important if the person is unconscious. This can show if there is any bleeding into the brain and where exactly the bleeding is. Fracture of the skull bones can also be seen.

The first thing to be done afer the accident is to stabilize the patient. Anything blocking their airways should be removed and their breathing and blood circulation is checked.

After this if there are signs of pressure in the brain the doctor may give something to bring this down.

The person may then require surgery.

If there is a collection of blood in the brain, this will have to be drained out.

This is done by a .

If there is injury to the tissue and bones of the face and jaw then a maxillofacial surgeon will be needed.

Is it life threatening?

Unfortunately, head injury is life threatening.

According to the CDC, 50,000 individuals die from head injury each year in the United States. Statistics are not available in . But my guess will be more.


Why is it a problem in Nigeria?

Nigerians are particularly at risk of head injuries due to road traffic accidents, okada passengers and riders are at increased risk due to refusal to wear helmets.

According to this study carried out in  a teaching hospital in Northern Nigeria between 2012 and 2013, 428  out of 3282 patients attended to had head injury.

Most  patients in the study were  knocked down by motor vehicles.  A few had taken alcohol prior to the accident.

Majority were males mostly in the 21- 30 years age group.

7 of them died while many had associated injuries especially skull fractures .

The after care of such patients is also usually difficult due to a mixture of ignorance, poverty and an overwhelmed health care force.

A CT scan alone in Nigeria costs between N35,000 and N40,000.

Available Neuro surgeons are few and far between.

How can this be prevented?

There needs to be more awareness about head injury, maybe the First lady can take this up as a pet project.

The FRSC should also engage in more education and awareness about the importance of the following:

  1.  Keeping to speed limits
  2. Not driving under the influence of alcohol
  3.  Use of seatbelts and helmets
  4. Understanding road signs
  5. Avoiding turning our roads to race tracks.

This is joining millions of Nigerians to wish the President’s son a quick recovery.

We also ask him to fix the Nation’s health system.

Update: The President’s son has been air lifted to Germany.




Photo credit: Guardian newspaper

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