By definition, you sustain a traumatic brain injury when you hit your head hard enough that your neck jerks violently forward and backward, causing your brain to “slosh around” inside your skull. The resulting damage to your brain causes it to malfunction, resulting in the possibility of numerous negative effects throughout your body.
Even a relatively minor auto accident can nevertheless provide the force necessary to give you a TBI. For instance, you may hit your head against the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, side door, etc. If someone rear-ends you, your neck’s whiplash may be sufficient to produce a TBI.
Unfortunately, you may not realize that you received a TBI at the time you sustain it. Why? Because TBI symptoms often take hours, days or even weeks to develop. Consequently, your wisest strategy is to seek immediate medical attention any time you injure your head, even if you think it is only a minor bump. A head trauma specialist is the only person who can assess your injury, conduct the proper tests and begin immediate treatment if he or she determines that you did indeed sustain a TBI.
Even if your health care professional gives you a clean bill of health, you nevertheless should remain vigilant for any of the following TBI symptoms that develop in the weeks following your injury:
- Visual problems, such as double or blurry vision or a decrease in your overall ability to see
- Auditory problems, such as a constant ringing in your ears or a decrease in your overall ability to hear
- Speech problems, such as slurring of your words or the inability to say the right word at the right time
- Mobility problems, such as a decrease in your coordination or balance
- Cognitive problems, such as confusion or the inability to adequately process information
- Personality changes, such as an increased level of irritation, anger, depression, etc.
Because no two TBIs mimic each other, no one can predict the precise long-term effects your TBI will have on you. You could require lengthy hospitalization, rehabilitation and/or reliance on prescription drugs to take the edge off your pain and allow you to function. You could become unable to continue working your current job. You could, in fact, become unable to work any job.