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Accident Victims Should Be Aware of Signs of Brain Injury

Scott Monge

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and learning about traumatic brain injuries can improve prevention, recognition and response in addressing TBIs. If you’ve been involved in a car accident or fall, knowing the signs of brain trauma will help determine if you should be looking for other signals and symptoms that could indicate concussions or more severe injuries.

In a 2010 study, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain brain trauma each year, and of those 52,000 die. Emergency rooms see 1.365 million patients who are treated and released for TBIs annually.

Injury to the brain can disrupt the organ’s normal functions, making it difficult to think clearly, slowing response times and affecting memory. Males are more prone to brain injuries and young children and the elderly have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research from the CDC also shows that 15- to 24-year-olds have the highest rates of motor vehicle-related brain trauma injuries.

Whether the injury is sustained from a minor fall or serious car crash, symptoms of a TBI can last for days, weeks or longer. Most people recover quickly and fully, but some severe cases can lead to coma and even death. Older adults and young children may have slower recoveries. Those who have had a previous brain injury are more likely to have another one and may take longer to recover.

The symptoms to look for include difficulty thinking clearly, headache, blurred vision, irritability, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, mood stability, sensitivity to light or noise, difficulty remembering new information and trouble falling asleep or sleeping more or less than usual.

If any of these symptoms show up after an injury, contact a health care professional as soon as possible. Chances for a faster recovery improve the sooner medical attention is sought. Neurologists, neurosurgeons and rehab specialists can help recover from a TBI more quickly. If you’ve been seen by a medical professional and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, getting rest is the best course of action. Once you have the go-ahead from your health care professional, slowly return to your daily activities by gradually reintroducing days at work or school or trips to the store.

Brain function is important as it controls speech, movement, memory and most of what you do every day. If you are involved in an accident, check for the symptoms and get help quickly to stave off long-term effects. For those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, support groups and other resources can be found by contacting the Brain Injury Association of America.


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