Every 21 seconds, someone in the United States sustains a brain injury. This often results in a litany of difficult choices and medical treatments for the injured and their family. Brain injuries are among the most devastating and traumatic afflictions one can suffer. They are caused by a wide variety of factors and present with a massive array of symptoms and conditions that experts are still struggling to understand. Often, brain injuries are permanent; requiring a lifetime of treatment and care.
Even a minor brain injury has the potential to seriously impact the victim’s life. Additionally, once a person has suffered one brain injury, their chances for another one more than triple. A second injury and the chances for a third increase eight times.
One of the most common brain injuries is a traumatic brain injury, or an injury caused by an external force. This type of brain injury is often caused by motor vehicle collisions, falls, physical assaults, and accidents while playing sports.
The Life-Changing Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The symptoms of severe traumatic brain injury include seizures, subdural hematomas, brain hemorrhages, and/or amnesia. These symptoms are often identified in the immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle collision and may be readily apparent. The symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury can be much harder to recognize.
Many physicians use phrases such as “closed head injury” or “post-concussion syndrome” to describe mild traumatic brain injuries. Some of the common symptoms associated with mild traumatic brain injury include:
- Loss of memory
- Impaired judgment
- Difficulty with balance
- Blurred vision
- Reduced attention and/or concentration
- Difficulty with decision making
- Alterations of the sense of taste and/or smell
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Personality/mood changes
- Difficulties with multi-tasking
These symptoms are warning signs that you should seek immediate medical attention. Even if you think you may have suffered a mild or more common injury such as a concussion, prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to making the best possible recovery. No traumatic brain injury should be taken lightly—the long-term effects of brain damage can be devastating.