Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, has been a hot topic in the news lately with multiple NFL players retiring at a young age due to fears of long-term symptoms due to concussions sustained on the playing field. Multiple traumas to the head can have devastating effects as you get older.

But you don’t need to be a football player to experience a traumatic head injury. In fact, there are tons of accidents that can happen in everyday life that can lead to permanent consequences. A blow to the head causes TBI, and there are varying degrees of brain injuries. But both the mild and serious ones leave a mark on your brain. While you may not feel like anything is wrong right away, over time, the effects of TBI take its toll. Try using these precautions to prevent TBI.

1. Practice safe driving.

While accidents can happen at any time without any warning, it is important to be prepared in case you find yourself in a crash. Car accidents are a leading cause of TBI. Make sure you always buckle yourself in every time you get in the car so you will be restrained from bashing your head against the dashboard in the event of an accident. And, of course, drinking and driving leads to accidents so you’ll want to avoid that as well. Be sure all kids are strapped into an age-appropriate car seat and are fastened in properly.

2. Wear a helmet.

While everyone can find an excuse to skip out on wearing a helmet while riding a bike, you really leave yourself open to serious injury if you don’t protect your brain. Even if you are worried about messing up your hair or just don’t have the time to buy a helmet, you must make the effort to protect yourself. All it takes is one fall off of a bike or motorcycle to smack your head and permanently damage your brain. This goes for playing sports as well – even if it is just a game of football in the local park, leaving the helmet at home could have consequences.

3. Know the signs of traumatic brain injuries.

Everything may seem fine after you got your bell rung, but there are certain signs you need to look out for to tip you off that the injury may be a bit worse than just a bump on your head. If you have recurring neck and head pain, memory loss, unorthodox tiredness, ringing in your ears, dizziness, and even a changed sleeping pattern, you may have experienced a TBI. Visit your doctor to get the correct treatment and work towards preventing future injury.

4. Safeguard your house.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the most effective. Clear your house of obstructions that could be tripping hazards and lead to falls. Make sure the house is properly lighted and there are handrails to keep your balance while walking down stairs. If you prevent yourself from slipping, you can prevent brain injuries.