Auto accidents represent a major cause of hospitalization, disability and death because of traumatic brain injury. Sometimes, the signs of a TBI do not arise until days or weeks after the collision.
Individuals should know the signs of TBI to seek necessary medical treatment for their family members.
Cognitive and mood-related symptoms
Unexpected mood changes can result after TBI. Be aware of aggressive behavior, unexplained anger, crying jags, depression and anxiety.
A person who has a TBI may not remember the accident or may suffer other forms of memory loss. He or she may display trouble concentrating, speaking, understanding or communicating. Confusion and disorientation are also common with this type of injury.
Children with TBI may show changes in their eating or nursing habits, along with limited interest in fun activities and difficulty focusing.
In the hours after an auto accident, family members should be alert for the physical signs of TBI. These vary depending on the person and the severity of the injury and may include:
- Loss of physical coordination
- Pupil dilation
- Limb numbness
- Slurring of speech
- Sensory issues
- Vision disturbances
- Ringing ears
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sleep disturbances
When someone is unconscious at the scene of an auto accident, he or she should receive immediate medical care. Parents should also seek medical help right away if a child experiences a head impact in an auto accident. Children may have fewer symptoms than adults have or may be unable to express their symptoms except by crying.
Wearing a seatbelt and avoiding distractions while driving can help prevent auto accidents that result in catastrophic brain injuries.