Brain injuries are much more common than we suspect. The simple act of “getting your bell rung” in an accident may cause serious brain injury. It’s quite common for clients to call me after a crash and downplay brain injury symptoms because they believe it’s something that should clear up on its own.
There are two common misunderstandings about brain injuries. The first is that you have to lose consciousness. You don’t. After an accident, most don’t know whether they lost consciousness or were simply stunned, dazed or confused. This is especially true in a car crash when the airbags come out, which is a startling, forceful event by itself.
The second common misunderstanding is you must suffer a blow to the head in order to have a brain injury. While a blow to the head commonly leads to a concussion and other brain injury symptoms, you can receive injury to the brain without being hit in the head. The rapid back and forth motion of the head many people experience in a car accident, a cycling crash or fall, common whiplash, may cause a brain injury. The forceful movement of the head in an acceleration/deceleration motion causes the brain to crash into the front or back of the skull forcefully. It’s the forceful jostling of the brain against the skull which can result in damage to the brain neurons leading to brain injury.
When someone suffers a loss of consciousness, loss of memory of events either before or after their accident, have an altered mental state (dazed and confused), or any type of nerve injury, these symptoms should be reported to a doctor and closely evaluated. Never assume they will go away on their own.
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