A TBI is a traumatic brain injury. These injuries are caused by a blow or bump or jolt to the head. TBIs represent a large number of the injuries that cause disability and death in the US. A blow to head, for example when you are in a fender bender may cause mild symptoms, such as whiplash, or a headache. More serious accidents can cause unconsciousness and coma.
A TBI can lead to long-lasting or permanent disability. The World Health Organization recognizes TBIs as the third largest contributor to world-wide disease and disability because these injuries, unlike a broken bone, can require long-term care.
How to detect a TBI
What many people don’t realize however, is that it is difficult to ascertain the damage to the brain or if there is a brain bleed or swelling without a computerized tomography scan (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, over two-thirds (nearly 1.87 million) of TBIs go unreported. If you have been involved in a car, motorcycle, truck or were struck while on your bike or walking, even if you were wearing a helmet, get seen as soon as possible by a medical professional. ANY time you hit your head- in a sports game, falling on a slippery floor or even in the shower, get seen.
If you can, go to a facility that offers a CT or MRI scan. There, a professional trained in brain injuries will assess you. They will evaluate your cognition (ability to think and reason), check your movement, coordination and reflexes. They will also assess your senses: what you can see, hear, smell, feel, etc.
7 common signs of a TBI
The danger of a TBI is that often there are no immediate symptoms. After an accident our adrenaline tends to pump. Post- accident anxiety can cloud our ability to recognize that we were injured. Generally speaking though, there are some signs of a brain injury. These include:
- Foggy memory of what just happened
- Confusion and disorientation, blurry vision
- Having a hard time understanding directions or remembering what was just said
- Headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble speaking
- Sleeping too much or erratic sleeping pattern
The brain is perhaps more delicate than we sometimes think. With immediate medical intervention many potential long-term ramifications can be detected and treated.