Individuals can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after receiving a significant impact or jolt to the head. These types of injuries can affect the brain’s structure or function with symptoms that can last a lifetime. After a fall or a vehicle collision, a thorough medical examination is a critical step in understanding the extent of the damage.
Numerous factors go into the severity of the TBI. For example, the injury might be considered a primary injury because the damage is immediately apparent. Conversely, the TBI might be categorized as a secondary injury as the symptoms might not be readily identifiable. Examples of this can include memory loss, persistent headaches, difficulty sleeping or perceptive challenges. In a broad sense, there are two types of head injuries:
- Penetrating TBI: This is often called an open head wound as an object physically pierces the skull and damages the brain tissue underneath. While the damage might be localized to a small area, the impact can be significant.
- Non-penetrating TBI: Conversely, this would be known as a closed head wound. An object has struck the head with enough force to jostle the brain inside the cranium.
Traumatic brain injuries can lead to countless symptoms that are generally categorized in three ways:
- Physical symptoms: These symptoms are physically apparent and easily identifiable by both the victim and medical personnel. They are typified by headaches, blurred vision, nausea and slurred speech.
- Cognitive or behavioral symptoms: These symptoms might be outwardly apparent to observers before the victim himself or herself notices a change. They can include problems making decisions, irritability, mood swings and disorientation.
- Perception symptoms: This category might slightly overlap with physical symptoms but are generally considered symptoms in which the victim might have trouble related to the senses. Sensitivity to light, for example, or experiencing a bad taste in the mouth can be considered perception symptoms.
When facing a TBI, it is wise to seek treatment right away. Often, individuals can struggle silently for days or weeks before realizing the true damage they suffered in a vehicle collision.