A brain injury is one of the most debilitating traumatic injuries possible. Individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) may require trauma care for stabilization after initially incurring the injury. More serious TBIs may also necessitate surgery followed by physical or occupational therapy.
TBIs can alter the course of people’s careers, change their relationships and have devastating consequences on their finances. Motor vehicle collisions are one of the top causes of TBIs in the United States. Falls and interpersonal violence are responsible for many other brain injuries.
Despite how catastrophic TBIs may prove to be, people sometimes overlook them after they first get hurt. Those who drive or engage in other high-risk activities might therefore benefit from knowing the warning signs of the brain injury. The following are some of the important indicators that someone may have injured their brain.
A loss of consciousness
The loss of consciousness even for a few seconds is a concerning sign after a car crash. Anyone who experiences blunt force trauma to the head or loses consciousness may want to pursue evaluation after a crash.
The brain devotes a lot of effort to processing incoming information. An injury to the brain can disrupt that processing. People may have blurry vision or ringing in their ears. Some people have difficulty speaking. If someone’s sensory perception abruptly changes or if they have trouble communicating after a car crash, those could be warning signs of a TBI.
A lot of the brain’s processing power also goes toward the regulation of the body and conscious control of motor functions. Walking, picking up items and using tools are all activities that require effort on the part of the brain. Some people develop issues with their sense of balance after a head injury. Others might notice problems with their coordination or changes in how they walk. A decrease in fine motor control ability is also a warning sign of a brain injury.
Many of the warning signs of a brain injury are technically invisible. They occur in someone’s brain. Individuals may struggle to recall information or might have other memory-related challenges. People may find that they struggle with executive function and the ability to make decisions. Difficulty regulating emotions, changes in mood/personality, problem-solving challenges and other changes in cognition are all potential warning signs of a TBI.
People may also report nausea, headaches and disruptions to their sleep schedules after a TBI. When there is bleeding or bruising inside the skull, a brain injury may worsen slowly over time, meaning that symptoms develop that weren’t there initially. Prompt medical evaluation can help people identify a TBI early and improve their prognosis after one.
Being able to recognize the warning signs that a crash may have hurt someone’s brain is the first step toward getting them the care they need.