By: Whalen Hersh
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What is a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Traumatic brain injuries, often abbreviated to TBI, are grouped into mild, moderate, and severe categories, with each describing the severity of the injury. Obviously, mild TBIs are the least severe, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be debilitating. Thankfully though, mild TBIs will usually affect a person for a short amount of time. However, if left undiagnosed and untreated, mild TBI’s can sometimes result in a long-term disability and even prove to be fatal.
Despite being “mild” in name, they should still be taken extremely seriously. Mild TBIs are more commonly referred to as concussions, and while they’re commonly associated with high impact sports like ice hockey and football, they’re also common in car accidents. So common, in fact, that they’re the third leading cause of concussions in America according to Brainline. Car accidents also make up the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths.
How can mild traumatic brain injuries happen in car accidents?
There’s a reason why concussions are frequently associated with high-impact sports. The violent collisions you see in hockey rinks or on the football field, even if not directed at the head or neck area, often cause the head to jolt suddenly or hit another object at quick speeds, and that’s exactly how concussions are caused. Such a sudden motion or impact will cause the brain to shift and hit against the skull, damaging the brain tissue. This damage can manifest as swelling of the brain, injury to nerves, torn blood vessels, and bruising, all of which can cause a concussion. With how violent car accidents can be, the body is often subjected to such forceful and sudden jolts that concussions happen often. We often forget that our bodies are going the same speed as our cars when we’re driving and thus will go from traveling that speed to a complete stop or in another direction in a car accident. Regardless of whether the accident redirects a car or causes it to come to an immediate halt, the driver’s head will be moving rapidly backward and forwards or side to side. This sudden change in speed and/or direction will cause the brain to move from its normal position and this, coupled with the impact of an airbag or the head hitting on the ceiling, window, or another object, is often enough to cause a concussion.
Signs of a concussion
Evidence of a mild traumatic brain injury is not likely to show up on brain imaging (MRI, CT), so being able to identify the signs of a concussion is crucial to preventing any potential long-term brain damage. One of the most common, and obvious, signs you’ve suffered a concussion is the loss of consciousness. Losing consciousness during an accident can be caused by several factors – the G force your body is subjected to, the impact of an airbag, or forcefully bumping your head on the steering wheel, windshield, or another object. Even a blackout for just a few seconds is a sign of a concussion. Feeling nauseous, dizzy, or generally lightheaded is another common sign, as is sensitivity to light and vomiting. Another sign you have sustained a concussion is if you experience more confusion than usual, forget how to do certain tasks, or have issues recalling things like the date soon after an accident. You may also be experiencing sudden mood changes, disturbed sleep patterns or trouble falling asleep, headaches, or ringing in your ears. Even if you’re only experiencing one of these symptoms it’s recommended that you get examined by a medical professional as soon as you can.
Contact Whalen Hersh
When you get in a car accident and fear you’ve suffered a concussion it can add anxiety to what’s already an extremely stressful situation. You don’t have to go through it all alone, so let Whalen Hersh fight for you and take away whatever stress we can. Don’t wait – contact us today!