Brain Injuries Caused by a Car Accident

A woman with a headache

The leading cause of death and disability from car accidents in the US are Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Currently, over 5.3 million people are living with disabilities resulting from a TBI.

A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain that results from an external force, or trauma, to the head causing damage to the brain. The skull is not penetrated or fractured but the force can rotate the brain. The damages to the tissues and cells of the brain can cause a temporary or permanent impairment in the cognitive, emotional and physical abilities of an individual.

Closed Head Injuries (CHI) is when the brain moves inside the skull. A CHI can include surface contusions and twisting and stretching from a rotational force, damaging structures like axons. Axons are long, hollow tubular structures that form the wiring that links neuronal processing centers in the brain. Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) results from the damaging, twisting or stretching by preventing the axons to from functioning properly.

Since TBI’s can range from subtle to fatal, there are many types of symptoms that differ for each case. The symptoms of TBI are grouped into three categories; physical, cognitive and emotional.

Physical symptoms are:

  • Seizures of all types
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Double vision, blurred vision or low vision, even blindness
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Speech impairments such as slow or slurred speech
  • Headaches or migranes
  • Fatigue, increased need for sleep
  • Balance problems

Cognitive symptoms of TBI include:

  • Short-term or long-term memory loss
  • Slowed ability to process information
  • Trouble concentrating or paying attention for periods of time
  • Difficulty keeping up with a conversation and communication difficulties
  • Spatial disorientation
  • Organizational problems and impaired judgment
  • Inability to do more than one thing at a time
  • Lack of initiating activities or difficulty completing tasks without reminder

Some emotional symptoms of TBI are:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Impulsive behavior
  • More easily agitated
  • Egocentric behaviors, difficulty seeing how behaviors affect others

If you have any of the symptoms after a whiplash injury and they persist, medical evaluation can be critical to the treatment of your TBI.