Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Glossary of Terms

What is an injury and how do they occur?

An injury is defined as damage or harm to the body caused by exposure to energy in an amount that is too great for the body to handle; or from a blocking of the body from using energy, as with suffocation, drowning, or cold exposure. For example, excess thermal energy may lead to heatstroke, burns or scalds; excess kinetic (mechanical) energy from a motor vehicle crash or fall can lead to fractures or wounds; and excess chemical energy, as from household cleaning liquids, can lead to burns or poisoning.

Many people believe that when they have an injury, it was caused by bad luck or fate alone. Whereas bad luck of fate can not be predicted or prevented, injuries can because injuries have known causes. By increasing awareness of risks for injuries and using prevention strategies recommended, the risk of injury is greatly reduced.

The aim of this section is to introduce you to injury topics, groups at risk for certain injuries, risk factors, and prevention strategies. You will be surprised how certain events that you may have never associated as being risky have lead to a significant number of fatalities. Although it may be impossible to reduce all adverse events, it is possible to reduce the severity of such outcomes. For example, seatbelts, shoulder restraints, airbags, and the car's energy absorbing frame and body work together to reduce the likelihood of a serious injury resulting from an unavoidable collision. Instead of waiting for an “accident” to occur and blaming it on bad luck, attempting to prevent an injury by changing one thing at a time will lead to decreased risk.

Numerous organizations nationally and locally are involved in the campaign to reduce fatal and nonfatal injuries. Additional resources are provided at the end of each section for more information on support groups in your community. By increasing knowledge about how such events may occur and simple prevention techniques, you may safe your own life and someone else you love.

Injury Prevention Policy