What Is Traumatic Brain Injury And How Does It Happen?
In almost any kind of injury, your head and brain can sustain injury. Your head is only attached to your body by your neck, and that vulnerability means that any impact – a car accident, a fall, being pushed, or any force exerted on your body, much less to the head directly—can lead to damage to your brain.
How Injury Happens
Your brain is surrounded by your skull, which protects your brain, but it also can have the opposite effect. In a traumatic accident, your brain can smash against the inner walls of your skull, making your skull as much a danger as it is helpful.
One thing to remember is that you do not have to black out or pass out, in order to suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, you don’t even have to be diagnosed with a concussion. TBI can happen, even without these factors.
One thing that is so dangerous about TBI is that it may not be readily detectable, at the time of your accident.
The X-Rays and immediate triage that are given in a typical emergency room often won’t detect TBI, or the long term effects of TBI. In fact, it may not even detect small bleeds in the brain.
These small bleeds can be deadly. At first, the bleed may be so small that it not only doesn’t show up on scans and X-rays, but it also doesn’t cause the victim any symptoms at all. The victim may seem fine.
But as that bleed gets bigger, it puts pressure on the brain, until the pressure is so great, it can kill the victim. This is why accident victims after an accident should never be left alone, but rather, should be monitored for at least the first 24 hours after their accident. Any changes in mood or affect should be immediately attended to by medical professionals.
Long Term Effects and Symptoms
But even if there isn’t some immediate brain bleed, that doesn’t mean there has been no TBI. Often, TBI can manifest over the long term. The victim may be forgetful, have a lack of focus or concentration, or may have changes in mood or affect.
At first, this may be dismissed as just having “depression over the accident,” and that does happen. It is natural to have mood changes because of the way your life has changed after an accident especially in the short term.
But when time goes on, and the mental or emotional symptoms don’t go away, or they get worse, it can become apparent that the brain itself has suffered some kind of injury.
Friends or family may notice changes. In severe cases, the victim may be so forgetful, he or she may need in-home medical attention, or may not even be able to return to work.