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Car accidents and severe brain injuries

When thinking about car accident injuries, many people picture broken bones, bruises and muscle sprains. Although those are common injuries, another common one that not many people consider is a brain injury.

Brain injuries range in severity. A mild one often results in a concussion, headache and dizziness, and symptoms typically go away with time and rest. Severe brain injuries, however, cause serious symptoms and changes, and many of them are life-long.

Facts about severe brain injuries

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, car accidents are one of the main causes of traumatic brain injuries. The type of injury is a closed brain injury, which occurs when aggressive movement of the head causes the brain to hit the interior of the skull, rupturing blood vessels and bruising brain tissue.

With a severe TBI, there are both primary and secondary injuries, resulting in long-term or permanent dysfunction. After the destruction of brain cells, they usually do not regenerate. However, recovery can occur, although it may not be complete. This recovery can take months, years or even a lifetime.

Consequences of severe TBIs

According to the Mayo Clinic, a severe traumatic brain injury results in physical symptoms and intellectual, communication, emotional, sensory and behavioral problems. Physical issues may include frequent headaches, seizures, vertigo, cranial nerve damage and infections. Examples of other complications:

  • Memory and problem-solving problems
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Depression and irritability
  • Difficulty in social situations
  • Difficulties with taste, smell or touch

Immediate emergency care is usually necessary during the acute stages of a severe TBI. Once things are stable, the patient generally requires short- or long-term rehabilitation services.