Most people know brain injuries tend to be a highly serious medical issue. However, it might surprise them to learn that, unlike many other types of trauma, traumatic brain injury can be hard to identify after a truck accident.
TBI typically occurs when the head sustains an impact, as commonly happens in a crash. Head wounds, especially those that penetrate the skull, can indicate the possibility of TBI. However, even people who do not recall hitting their heads may suffer TBI, as an abrupt stop such as often occurs in a crash can cause the brain to hit the interior of the skull hard enough to cause damage.
Severe TBI usually results in prolonged loss of consciousness at the scene and drastic consequences such as paralysis, coma and even death. The long period of unconsciousness makes it more likely that first responders will identify the issue and take the injured person to the emergency room.
When TBI is not obvious
However, cases of mild or moderate TBI can be harder to identify. Typically, the period of unconsciousness lasts less than 30 minutes and can be as short as a few seconds. In the midst of a car accident, some people do not even realize they briefly passed out. If they do not have a head wound and otherwise think they feel fine, they may not even go to the emergency room.
Brain damage, even if it falls into the mild or moderate category, presents a serious problem. The specific results can depend on the area of the brain that sustains the damage, as well as the extent of the harm. To add another complication, TBI can cause bleeding or fluid buildup in the brain. Over time, either of these can extend the area and type of damage.
Signs to watch for
It helps to know some common symptoms that can arise in the days, weeks and months following the accident. Watch out for headaches, fatigue, dizziness, blurry vision, impaired motion or speech, lapses in memory, brain fog, nausea, and mood swings. In general, keep a close eye on any mental or physical changes. Getting medical help promptly can get you the diagnosis and treatment you need.