Car accidents can have far-reaching consequences beyond visible physical injuries. Among the most severe and life-altering outcomes are traumatic brain injuries.
The brain’s complexity makes it vulnerable to various types of injuries, each with its own set of challenges and implications.
Concussions are perhaps the most well-known type of brain injury. The sudden impact of a car crash can cause the brain to jolt within the skull, resulting in a concussion.
Americans get anywhere from 1.4 to 3.8 million concussions every year, although it is hard to tell since some people do not report them or seek medical help for these injuries. While a person may not always show immediate symptoms, concussions can eventually lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss and mood disorders.
Contusions, or brain bruises, occur when the force of impact is so intense that blood vessels rupture, leading to bleeding within the brain tissue. These injuries can cause localized damage, affecting specific brain functions.
The severity of contusions varies, but even minor ones can contribute to cognitive difficulties and motor skill impairments.
Nerve fiber injuries
Car accidents can induce rapid acceleration or deceleration, causing the brain’s nerve fibers to stretch or tear. This type of injury often leads to widespread damage throughout the brain.
It can also result in long-term cognitive deficits, affecting attention, memory and executive functions. The consequences may not become apparent immediately, making a thorough medical evaluation important for early detection.
Hematomas involve the collection of blood outside blood vessels, creating clots that can exert pressure on the brain. Subdural hematomas occur beneath the skull, while epidural hematomas form between the skull and the outer layer of the brain. Both types can be life-threatening if not promptly addressed. Symptoms may include headaches, nausea and altered consciousness.
The road to recovery often involves a multidisciplinary approach. It may encompass both medical and supportive measures to help individuals regain their quality of life.