TBI: An acronym receiving more focus

Several recent events have brought more attention to traumatic brain injury (also referred to as a concussion). September was national TBI awareness month. And a recent victim in a Charlotte police shooting had suffered a TBI in a motorcycle crash. Video recorded his wife telling police that he didn't have a gun, but he had a TBI. In this stressful situation, the acronym may have caused confusion.

The jolt or bump to the head in a rear-end car crash can damage brain cells and tissues. Chemical changes can also occur in this type of injury. These injuries have been a silent, ignored epidemic for too long.

I'll have a glass of wine and feel better tomorrow

Immediately following an accident, the full consequences of a minor traumatic brain injury may not be apparent. You might turn down the ride in the ambulance and shrug off that dazed feeling.

With even mild injuries the trauma that the brain experiences could lead to cascading symptoms:

  • Headache or dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Mood disorders (i.e. depression or anxiety)
  • Sleep problems leading to fatigue

Many people describe how they feel as "walking in a fog." Slower processing and the inability to grasp concepts right away may affect job performance. Sometimes, you might not connect these with an accident, because they might not start until a week or month later.

Lasting damage

A more serious TBI was described by the friends and family of the shooting victim. In a 2015 motorcycle accident, he not only suffered a brain injury, but also broke both hips and his pelvis. He had to relearn to walk and talk. They described him as a different person who would zone out, slur his words and get lost in the middle of a thought.

While a brain injury may not explain all his actions, it might be why he was slower to react and struggled to follow police directions. Those who have sustained TBIs often make poor decisions when under stress. Changes in behavior and cognitive function may never fully improve.

Diagnosis required to get proper treatment

Obtaining a proper diagnosis is the first step to recovery. You or a family member may need to see a neurologist. Imaging tests are becoming more sensitive and can catch issues that might be missed in an initial CAT scan.

Avoiding strenuous physical and mental activity as well as screens (phone, television and computer) is the front line treatment. Neurocognitive testing and a treatment plan developed by a neuropsychologist can address some of the symptoms like anxiety and depression associated with prolonged recovery.

When you or a loved one has been in an accident, it is a good idea to contact one of the attorneys at your local personal injury firm of McGlynn, Glisson & Mouton. We are here to ensure needed resources are available during a recovery. An initial consultation is always free.

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