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What is a traumatic brain injury?

Car accidents can be dangerous for drivers and passengers. Even though there are airbags and other safety features designed to reduce impact for vehicle occupants, crash victims can still sustain serious injuries.

One of the most common car accident injuries is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs typically result from a blow or jolt to the head, though sometimes it is caused by an object penetrating brain tissue. They can be serious enough to result in long-term complications or death.

It can be difficult to determine if you have a TBI if there is no external wound, and many people don’t realize they have one because the symptoms appear days or even weeks later. Therefore, anyone who has been in a car accident should be aware of the symptoms of a TBI.

Mild TBI symptoms

TBIs can have wide-ranging effects, so the symptoms vary based on the severity of the injury. These symptoms can be physical and psychological.

A mild TBI can have the following symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds or a few minutes, or no loss of consciousness but a state of being dazed, confused or disoriented
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Speech problems
  • Sleep difficulty or sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ears ringing, a bad taste in the mouth, changes in smell, or sensitivity to light or sound
  • Memory changes or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or swings

Moderate and severe TBI symptoms

Moderate and severe TBI symptoms include many of the above, but they are more serious. For instance, the loss of consciousness could be longer or the headache and vomiting is persistent.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation in one or both pupils
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Inability to wake up
  • Weakness or numbness in the fingers and toes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Agitation or combativeness
  • Slurred speech

If you’ve been in a car accident and exhibit any TBI symptoms, it would be worth a visit to the doctor. The long-term damage an untreated TBI can cause is serious enough to warrant medical attention.

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