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Do you know the warning signs of brain injury after a crash?

A brain injury could drastically change the life of the person who suffers it and the lives of everyone in their family. Although people can hurt their heads and brains in any kind of accident, car crashes can easily produce serious brain injuries.

The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) could leave someone unable to walk, speak or continue to perform their job. They may require constant care and supervision in some cases. Other times, they may be able to care for themselves but can no longer perform the same job they once did because of their injury.

Given how severe and debilitating brain injuries sometimes are, you might think that it would be obvious right after a motor vehicle collision if anyone in the vehicle suffered a TBI. Unfortunately, brain injuries are difficult to spot, especially because they tend to get worse as time passes after the initial injury. Identifying potential brain injury symptoms could make a big difference for someone with a TBI.

What happens in a crash to cause a TBI?

You can injure your brain in a number of different ways in a serious car crash. Obviously, blunt force trauma to the head could cause bruising or swelling of the brain. Anyone who strikes their head anywhere on a vehicle is at risk of developing a TBI, and any report of unconsciousness should receive medical attention, even if it lasted for only a few seconds.

However, just because someone doesn't hit their head doesn't mean you shouldn't monitor them for a brain injury. If the vehicle experiences violent shaking, spinning or flipping in the crash, that violent motion could also shake your brain inside your skull and lead to a TBI.

Finally, penetrating injuries from shrapnel or debris from the collision could also result in trauma to the brain. It is always best to err on the side of caution and seek a medical evaluation for anyone who could have potentially injured their brain in a crash as soon as possible.

Watch for symptoms over the next few weeks

As previously noted, the symptoms for a brain injury may develop suddenly after several days and can change as more time passes after the incident. Some of the more common symptoms associated with a TBI include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headaches
  • ringing in the ears
  • blurry vision
  • slurred speech
  • dizziness
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • changes in mood or personality
  • issues with recalling old memories or creating new ones
  • changes in motor function or strength
  • problems with balance

Other symptoms are also possible, depending on the part of the brain affected. Any unusual behavior or unexplained symptoms after a head injury should receive medical review to ensure that they don't stem from a TBI. The sooner you get treatment after a crash, the greater the potential that doctors can alleviate some of the pressure on the brain and reduce the worsening of the symptoms.

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