Car wrecks are one of the leading causes of brain injuries in the United States. 50,000 people die annually from traumatic brain injuries, while 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive, and an estimated 80,000-90,000 people experience the onset of long-term disability as a result — currently, over 5.3 million people are living with disabilities resulting from a TBI.
Unfortunately, brain injuries are often not diagnosed right away. Most brain injuries involving car collisions occur when an individual is hit and the force of the collision causes the brain to move inside the skull. Upon impact, the force causes movement in the skull, typically in a forward/backward motion- causing the brain to hit the front of the skull and then the back of the skull. The impact the brain has with the skull can cause sheering of brain tissue on a microscopic level at the junction between the grey matter and the whit matter of the brain. When this occurs, an individual will likely initially suffer effects of what we think of as a concussion. These symptoms include headaches and sensitivity to light. However, as time goes on, these symptoms can develop and include the following:
Cognitive symptoms can include:
Emotional symptoms of a TBI can include:
If you have any of these symptoms after a whiplash injury, especially if they persist for more than a few days, you should be evaluated to see if you have a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). While they experience the same symptoms as a normal adult, children and seniors present unique symptoms and diagnostic problems.