A traumatic brain injury (TBI), typically resulting from car crashes, slip and falls, or other severe impacts, may occur without the victim even realizing they have suffered an injury at all. Although the victim may look and speak normally, dangerous symptoms can develop from sudden brain impact such as decreased cognition, change in mental state, or altered personality. With both the lack of awareness and victim recognition, sufferers typically go unnoticed, failing to receive any mental care for their injury.
A tramautic brain injury can occur when the skull strikes an object such as a steering wheel, the windshield of a car, or other object at a high velocity. The impact may cause bruising of the brain not visible at the time of accident. However, it is important to remember that a traumatic brain injury can also result without the head striking anything at all. When the neck is whipped back and forth, the brain has nowhere to go except back and forth inside the skull – literally striking the skull with each movement. So while the head may not strike anything, the brain is striking the skull repeatedly. A traumatic brain injury can result from such force.
Diagnosis can be simple, or very difficult, depending on extent of injury. Patients may be tested with MRI’s, X-rays, and CT scans to examine the head for skull fractures and the patient may be asked questions to test cognition and mental function. The patient is then rated on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which determines their severity of injury.
Symptoms of traumatic brain injury include cognitive, motor, and perceptual defects. The victim may also experience communication and language changes. Brain epilepsy is common in severe cases. Many never fully recover from brain injuries, but with the proper rehabilitation can live a full and active life.
As with most neurological injuries, the timing of treatment is key. If you notice someone exhibiting any of the above symptoms, ask questions. Sometimes, the injured person may not even recall the event causing injury.