The brain is a remarkable and wonderous thing. It named itself. It is capable of solving mathematical equations that have gone unsolved for millennia. It has the capacity to love when love should not be given. It has the strength to react to hitting a baseball in one-tenth of a second. While the brain is the greatest work of art in the biological atmosphere, it is also tremendously vulnerable. Injuries to the brain can occur at any moment, from any cause.
There are dozens of different injuries that your brain can endure after a severe accident. From a mild bone contusion to a broken femur, anything can happen. However, some injuries transpire far more often than others. Among the most common injuries after a car crash, is traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a nondegenerative insult to the brain from an external force, possibly leading to permanent or temporary impairment of functions. Many people are unaware of the enormous population of people that deal with a TBI. Traumatic brain injuries happen when a blow causes sudden damage to the brain. In most cases, it occurs due to car accidents, motorcycle crashes, falls, sports injuries, or violence. Concussions are actually a mild form of traumatic brain injury. The key factor in creating a TBI is, during the impact of an accident, the brain bouncing back and forth inside the skull. This causes bruising, bleeding, tearing, and separation. If you’ve suffered an injury, you could be compensated for all of your economic and non-economic damages by contacting a Tampa car accident lawyer.
The risks are well known to the common public, but the overall severity that a TBI can cause, goes under the radar. A mild headache after a car accident can eventually turn into a mental illness. In some cases, it happens immediately, but more often than not it happens gradually. To build awareness among the public, traumatic brain injury needs to be talked about. The information and statistics you see below are generated from deep medical research by the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you’ve been diagnosed with TBI after a car accident, you could be entitled to damages for your economic losses. No matter the severity, Dennis Hernandez & Associates personal injury firm is dedicated to helping people get the compensation they deserve.
As aforementioned, most of the general public knows that bouncing your head back on forth between a car window and the steering is not going to produce anything positive. However, many people don’t know the risks of traumatic brain injury. An estimated 1.8 million adults and children suffer TBI’s each year in the U.S. For the most part, a TBI will not be fatal or cause permanent damage, but like all injuries, it can be deadly.
Hospitals are becoming more efficient than they have ever been. When someone is admitted to the hospital or emergency room, doctors will assess the ability to open their eyes, respond to orientation questions, and follow commands. The responses to these three tactics are all tell-tale signs of the brain’s activity, if conscious. If those do not work, the next step is a painful stimulation. An average body sends signals from the nerves to the brain to experience pain. If this does not fire the brain, the diagnosis could be severe.
The doctors/nurses are looking for different types of traumatic brain injury when they perform these exercises. There is a scale that they use called the Glasgow Coma Score. It is a 15-point test used to determine the level of consciousness in patients. They use the level of responses to the above questions to figure out the severity of the injury. A score of 15-13 is considered mild, 12-9 is considered moderate, and 8-1 is considered severe. If a GCS score is 5 or below, immediate surgery is most likely needed.
Types of TBI
TBI is a fairly broad term that encompasses a lot of different injuries. Those can include concussions, bruises, fractures, and many more. Some of these types of TBI’s are much milder than others, but all can cause permanent damage to the brain.
- Concussion – Thanks to the National Football League, concussions are a widely talked about topic. They have swept an entire generation of football players to its feet and changed the game completely. That is all for good reason, though. Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries; they happen due to a brief loss of consciousness after a jolt to the head. Usually this won’t lead to anything permanent, but repeated concussions can lead to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).
- Contusion – Contusion is usually used as the medical term for a deep bruise. When it comes to TBI’s, a contusion is a bruise specific to an area of the brain caused by an impact of the head. This usually occurs when it gets hit by a blunt object. For example, when a person gets hit in the head with a smaller object such as a softball, it usually causes a contusion. Contusions range from mild to severe.
- DAI – DAI stands for diffuse axonal injury. It is a shearing and stretching of the nerve fiber within the cells of the brain. This occurs when the brain moves quickly inside the skull. In a car accident when your head hits the headrest and then the steering wheel, a DAI is likely to occur. This injury is much worse than a concussion or contusion. The tearing of the nerve fibers in the brain will disrupt the normal flow of the cells from one area of the brain to the other. Diffuse axonal injuries can leave permanent damage to a human both physically, and mentally.
- Hematoma – Hematoma’s are blood clots that form when blood vessels rupture. Blood clots are a normal response by the body to stop bleeding. While hematomas are not good and could need surgery to remove large clots, most will gradually reside over time.
No matter the type of traumatic brain injury, the severity can be deadly with any of them. Mild concussions can turn into an issue in the future, and can immediately leave someone with memory loss, fatigue, and mood swings.
Symptoms and Complication
With any medical condition there are symptoms to look for and complications that may arise. Traumatic brain injury is responsible for some of the worst symptoms of any injury one can suffer. The brain is vital to our existence physically, emotionally, and mentally. The different lobes within the brain operate necessary motor functions that are needed for human life. If any of these areas are injured severely it can result in a lifetime of mental illness or death.
- Frontal Lobe – The frontal lobe is responsible for your personality, behavior, emotions, judgement and speech. If this area experiences trauma it can leave you with emotional changes, memory loss, impaired sense of smell, and vision loss.
- Parietal Lobe – The parietal lobe is responsible for interpreting language, your sense of touch, sense of pain, hearing, motor functions and vision. If this area is severely injured it can cause a lack of awareness, neglect, poor eye-hand coordination, and problems with elementary ideas like reading, writing, drawing, and naming.
- Occipital Lobe – The occipital lobe interprets vision. If this area is injured it can result in blind spots, illusions, hallucinations, and on occasion it will cause blindness.
- Temporal Lobe – The temporal lobe is the most traumatic when injured. It is responsible for memory, understanding language, hearing, and organization. All of which are needed to sustain a common way of life. If the temporal lobe is injured severely it can cause short/long-term memory loss, aggression, and seizures.
- Cerebellum – The cerebellum is responsible for your balance, coordination, and posture. If this is struck during an auto accident it can lead to difficulty walking, dizziness, slurred speech, and ability to make fine movements.
- Brainstem – The brainstem connects your brain to the rest of your body. It is responsible for breathing, heart rate, body temperature, digestion, and swallowing. If the brainstem is injured in any way, it can cause the brain to die.
There are treatments and recovery for everything. As said before, the human brain is extraordinary. We have found cures, treatments, and resolutions for the harshest diseases on earth. Traumatic brain injuries are no different. Mild TBI’s require nothing more than rest and medication to relieve the constant headaches. Moderate TBI’s will need intense care in a hospital. Bleeding and inflammation of the brain of any kind, will result in immediate surgery. In the case of extreme TBI’s neurocritical care will be needed. At that point, hope is what you will need.