One of your first reactions after a car crash will be to check yourself and everybody else for signs of injuries. You may breathe a sigh of relief when everyone is conscious with no broken bones, but that does not necessarily mean there aren’t any serious injuries to treat.
Some of the worst possible injuries people can suffer in motor vehicle collisions take a while to show obvious symptoms. Someone in your family could have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that you only realize is an issue several days after the crash. It is probably a good idea to carefully monitor everyone for the warning signs of a brain injury.
What are some of those signs?
Complaints about physical symptoms
Someone with a TBI could have a headache that won’t go away or that seems to get worse. They may experience nausea or vomiting. A brain injury could make someone feel dizzy or disrupt their sleep patterns, making it harder for them to fall asleep or more difficult for them to wake up.
When someone mentions any of these physical symptoms within a week or so of a car crash, that is probably a good reason to make an appointment for a medical evaluation for that person.
Changes in how they act
Bleeding, bruising or swelling of the brain can cause a lot of unexpected symptoms, including otherwise inexplicable changes to someone’s personality and behavior. Someone who is usually calm may become quite excitable. They might become more withdrawn from others or behave in ways that are highly unusual. Shifts in mood, behavior and personality can be warning signs of a TBI.
Comments about sensory issues
If someone mentions offhandedly a ringing in their ears or blurry vision, those minor complaints could be a warning sign of a TBI. Much of your brain processing power goes toward the analysis of sensory data, so when there are injuries to the brain, sensory processing can suffer as a result.
Changes in their movements or dexterity
The brain is also responsible for all of your physical actions, including your gait when you walk and your sense of balance. Some people will experience vertigo after a brain injury. Others may have issues with their strength or the way that they walk. Even fine motor skills like sewing or buttoning a shirt could decline because of a brain injury.
Any concerning symptoms would warrant an appointment for medical evaluation, as brain injuries can continue to get worse if you don’t receive a prompt diagnosis and treatment. Monitoring yourself and loved ones for signs of a brain injury will be integral after a car crash, especially if the wreck involved high speeds or significant damage to the vehicle.