Winter has arrived in New Hampshire, and despite the picture postcard beauty of the snow and the kids’ fun with their new sleds, most of us adults are considerably more concerned about the road conditions. No one need tell you that winter driving in New Hampshire can be fraught with danger as the number of traffic accidents goes up. And unfortunately, your risk of suffering a serious injury such as a TBI in an auto accident likewise increases.
TBI stands for traumatic brain injury, and per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 286,000 people suffer one in a car crash every year nationwide. You could be one of them and its aftermath could be catastrophic. What happens is that when the force of your crash impact makes your head and neck violently jerk back and forth, this sudden extreme movement makes your brain “slosh around” inside your skull, thereby causing injury to its cells, nerves and tissues.
One of the most frightening things about a TBI is that you may or may not exhibit symptoms immediately after your car crash. Consequently you may not realize that your supposed “bump on the head” is instead a traumatic brain injury that could cause you a lifetime of disability.
Another frightening thing about TBIs is that each one is different for the person who suffers it, even if their injuries are similar in nature. While you could lose consciousness, you could just as likely not. While you could experience double or blurry vision, you could experience ringing in your ears instead. While your TBI could affect your speech, it could instead make it difficult for you to maintain your balance. In other words, you need to go to a hospital immediately after any head injury you receive in a car crash, no matter how slight you think it may be. Only a skilled trauma physician can test you for TBI and begin immediate treatment if (s)he discovers that you suffered one.
TBI symptoms, both physical and psychological, can show up days or even months after your accident. One of the major things you should be on the lookout for is changes in your personality. All of the following can be symptoms of a TBI:
- Increased irritability, anger and/or hostility
- Argumentativeness with your family members
- Feelings of fear, anxiety and/or depression
- Sudden mood swings, sometimes extreme
- Erratic behaviors
Should you or your family notice any of the above, be sure to make another appointment with your physician as quickly as possible so (s)he can administer further TBI tests. The sooner you receive the treatment you need, the better chance you stand that your traumatic brain injury will not result in your becoming disabled and unable to work.