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Brain injuries—more common in car crashes than in sports

No doubt you have seen a football player helped off the field after a blow to his head. The diagnosis is usually a concussion, a mild traumatic brain injury that seems all too common in sports.

However, did you know that motor vehicle crashes and falls are the most frequent causes of TBI? Would you recognize this kind of injury if it happened to you?

A little TBI background

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vehicle crashes are responsible for about 286,000 cases of traumatic brain injury every year. Researchers believe the actual number may be considerably higher because symptoms do not always appear at the time of an accident and therefore are not recorded in police reports.

How a brain injury happens

There are two forms of TBI, open and closed. The term "open" refers to an injury in which a foreign object penetrates the skull and enters the brain. The much more common closed form results from a blow to the head. If, for example, you are the victim of a rear-end collision, the impact could cause you to hit your head on the steering wheel or windshield, and the blow could result at least in a concussion and possibly a more serious brain injury.

Searching for symptoms

You may walk away from a minor collision thinking that, all things considered, you feel OK except for your frayed nerves. However, you should still seek prompt medical attention because the symptoms of a brain injury may not be immediately apparent. You could experience delayed symptoms such as:

  •         Headaches or nausea
  •         Dizziness or balance issues
  •         Blurred vision
  •         Ringing in the ears
  •         Sensitivity to light or noise
  •         Trouble concentrating
  •         Feelings of confusion or disorientation
  •         Depression or anxiety

Connecting the dots

You do not have to be an athlete to suffer a brain injury, and after a minor crash, you may not even realize that you have one. A prompt visit to the doctor can assure you of early treatment. The medical report will also show that the collision was the direct cause of that injury. If driver negligence was responsible, this is the kind of information that will help significantly when an advocate negotiates for full and fair insurance compensation on your behalf.

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