Traumatic brain injury can occur when the brain sustains an impact. Most often, TBI happens due to a fall, an impact from a falling object, a car crash or a violent assault.

In the event of a car accident, TBI is possible even if there are no visible signs of head trauma. A sudden stop while traveling fast can cause internal damage to the brain. For this reason, it is especially important to watch out for potential TBI symptoms after your accident.

You may not know right away

Moderate or mild TBI can take some time to identify. At the time of the impact, one typically experiences a brief loss of consciousness and some memory confusion. In the shock of the accident, this may not stand out. Going to the emergency room typically does not reveal the presence of mild TBI, especially if first responders do not see bruising or bleeding on the head.

Symptoms often show up later

TBI symptoms can begin appearing hours, days and weeks after the initial trauma. Many of them can seem minor on their own. Some common signs include nausea, drowsiness, irritability, difficulty paying attention, headaches and dizziness. You may notice increased difficulty in functions such as speech, movement and memory. The specific effects of TBI for a given person will depend on the areas of the brain affected by the trauma.

If you notice some of the above symptoms or any other changes in your health, including your emotional and mental health, try to see a doctor as soon as possible. Be sure to inform him or her of your car accident.

Treatment and effects

In some cases, TBI can necessitate surgery. In most cases of mild or moderate TBI, treatment will target specific symptoms. You may need physical or other types of therapy, rehabilitative care or medication.

Living with TBI symptoms, even in their mildest forms, can significantly affect one’s life. Many of these symptoms make it difficult or even impossible to keep a job, socialize and perform ordinary living tasks.