Victims of motor vehicle collisions are in danger of suffering from head injuries. Concussions, closed head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries can all be caused by an auto, bicycle, or motorcycle collision. These types of injuries are very serious and can lead to long term problems. Brain image
Head injuries are common in motor vehicle collisions. In a car accident, the head can strike the window or the inside of the car. Sometimes airbags do not deploy and an accident victim will hit his or her head on the steering wheel. Motorcycle riders and bicyclists are especially in danger of receiving head injuries, even when wearing a helmet.
Remember, if you ever come upon the scene of an accident and think someone may have sustained a head injury, be very careful. If they are not in immediate danger where they are, try not to move an injury victim. Also, you should never remove a helmet from an injured bicyclist or motorcycle rider.
A head injury is defined by an injury to the scalp, skull, or brain. A closed head injury refers to receiving a blow to the head that doesn’t break the skull. An open, or penetrating head injury is one in which the skull has been broken and may or may not involve an object entering the brain.
There are several different types of head injuries, each with different levels of severity.
Concussion: An injury victim who has a concussion, has had his or her brain shaken around inside of the skull. A concussion can cause a temporary disruption of normal brain functions. While many patients do recover completely from a concussion, it is possible to have long lasting neurological side effects from this type of injury.
Cerebral contusion: Unlike a concussion, where the entire brain is shaken around, a cerebral contusion is a bruise to a specific area of the brain.
Intracranial hematoma: In this serious medical situation, blood vessels in the brain rupture and cause a life-threating increase of pressure in the brain. If the blood pools up around the brain, this is called a subdural hematoma. If the blood pools up between the brain and the skull, this is called an epidural hematoma.
Diffuse axonal injury: An injury to the axon of a neuron, or nerve cell, in the brain can cause permanent damage. The nerve cell can be so badly damaged that normal brain function is severely limited, or even causes the patient to enter a permanent vegetative state.
Sometimes the victim of a head injury will not realize how serious the injury is. If someone has been involved in a collision and is experiencing any of the symptoms below, it is possible they have sustained a serious head injury.
- Severe headache
- Neck pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Abnormal behavior
One of the things that brain injury victims find most devastating are the long term physical and emotional effects of surviving a traumatic head injury. Sometimes patients will find that it takes weeks or even months to return to the way they were before the accident. Some injury victims find that they are never the same after experiencing a traumatic brain injury.
Individuals who have undergone a serious brain injury can find themselves facing difficulty with the following neurological problems for a long period of time following the accident.
- Personality changes
- Memory loss
- Long term emotional problems
- Difficulty communicating
- Problems concentrating
- Unable to process information and solve problems
Head injuries can be devastating and life changing. If someone sustains a traumatic brain injury or other serious injury in a car accident, timely medical treatment can be critical. When in doubt, seek medical attention, as this is not something to play around with.