When you think of a traumatic brain injury, football, soccer or some other contact sport may come to mind. But did you know that this kind of injury is relatively uncommon in the sports world? A much more likely venue for a serious head injury is the scene of a car crash.
A little background
People suffer brain injuries in vehicle accidents more often than you may think, even those that are minor, such as rear-end collisions. About 286,000 Americans sustain TBI annually as the result of car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, the CDC believes that the number may be much higher. Since the symptoms of a brain injury may take hours or days to appear, an accident report may not reference TBI.
The two forms of TBI
A traumatic brain injury takes two forms: open and closed. The latter, which is more common, results from a blow to the head. This often happens in a rear-end crash because the sudden impact may cause the head to strike something hard, like the steering wheel, windshield or dashboard. Open TBI, however, refers to a critical injury caused when an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain.
You may be able to walk away from a car crash and feel physically okay. However, in the next day or two, you could experience headaches or bouts of nausea. You may feel dizzy, confused or unusually tired. You could find that you have a sensitivity to light or loud noises, and you may have trouble concentrating or remembering things.
The importance of a medical evaluation
Symptoms like these may indicate a concussion or more serious head injury, such as TBI. This is why you should not hesitate to see a doctor following even a minor car crash. Your wellbeing is at stake; TBI can be a life-changing injury requiring long-term medical treatment. In addition, a doctor’s report ties your injury to the car crash and serves as critical evidence if your claim for insurance compensation should turn into a legal dispute.