A car accident may sometimes just result in some vehicle damage and a sore neck, but sometimes it has serious consequences. A brain injury may occur in serious crashes, or even minor ones if the victim hits his or her head.
Traumatic brain injuries can vary in severity. Mild cases generally only last a week or two, but moderate and severe cases can have long-term consequences.
Brain injury basics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a traumatic brain injury can occur when there is a jolt or blow to the head. This causes the brain to bounce around in the skull, which leads to bruising of brain tissues and tearing of neurons and blood vessels. Motor vehicle accidents are common causes of brain injuries. A TBI can be mild, moderate or severe.
If a child has a brain injury, this can affect the normal development of the brain. For adults with moderate or severe TBI, there are often health problems that are permanent.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is typically not possible to reverse the initial damage to the brain. As a result, the majority of care immediately after an accident focuses on the stabilization of the injury and prevention of further damage. Around 50% of patients with TBI require surgery.
Once stabilization of the injury occurs, the focus is on managing the variety of symptoms. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, a patient may have physical, mental and emotional side effects, and many of them will be life-long. A patient will often need months, if not years, of rehabilitation and therapy to relearn basic life and social skills.