Car accidents are dangerous and frightening, but one danger we often forget about is concussions. According to the CDC, concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and they can be caused by car accidents.
Not only can concussions have immediate symptoms, but they can also result in long-term problems. Here are some of the ways they can affect you.
Unsurprisingly, concussions result in headaches. If you have a headache after a blow to the head, go to a hospital right away as they can be dangerous. Someone else should probably drive, however, as concussions can impair your driving.
Concussion symptoms include
- Loss of consciousness
- Feeling dizzy
- Difficulty balancing
- Feeling sensitive to sound and light
- Blurred vision
- Restlessness while sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating or comprehending
- Forgetting people/places
- Ringing noises
Talk to a doctor after a blow to the head, especially if you experience any of these symptoms.
Additionally, according to the CDC, dangerous blood clots can form in certain rare cases after a concussion. These can be very dangerous. Contact your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately if you have any of these systems as listed by the CDC:
- Headache that gets worse and doesn't go away
- Weakness, numbness or reduced coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
As stated by the CDC, you should take someone to the emergency department immediately if he or she has any of these symptoms. If he or she:
- Looks very drowsy or cannot be awakened
- Has one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
- Has convulsions or seizures
- Cannot recognize people or places
- Is getting more and more confused, restless, or agitated
- Has unusual behavior
- Loses consciousness (a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously and the person should be carefully monitored)
Additionally, someone who has had a concussion should be woken up every couple of hours for at least the first night to make sure they don’t have any of the emergency symptoms. People with a concussion can sleep, they should just be woken up periodically.
When the symptoms of a concussion last for a long time, it’s called post-concussion syndrome. You would think that the harder someone is hit, the more likely he or she would be to develop post-concussion syndrome, but according to the Mayo Clinic, this isn’t accurate. It is unclear why some people experience long-term symptoms while others experience only short-term.
According to the University of Utah Health, “Long-term effects of concussion are rare. In fact, the vast majority of people see any symptoms resolve within a few weeks. Only about 20 percent of people might suffer from post-concussion syndrome, where they continue to experience symptoms after six weeks.” However, if someone has a lot of concussions, one after another, long-term effects become more likely.
If you get a concussion, the University recommends that you, “see a doctor within one to two days of a head injury, even if you... [do] not require emergency treatment.”
Children, teens, and elderly adults often take longer to recover from concussions, according to the CDC.
Can I Drive After a Concussion?
Concussions impact people’s ability to drive even in the long-term. A study from the Journal of Neurotrauma tested the driving skills of 14 people who’d had a concussion 7-24 days earlier (and no longer had obvious symptoms) against 14 people who hadn’t had a concussion. The concussed people performed worse even though they seemed to have recovered completely.
The researchers said that, “Despite being asymptomatic [without symptoms], concussed participants exhibited poorer vehicle control, especially when navigating curves. Driving impairments may persist beyond when individuals with a concussion have returned to driving.”
Likewise, the law firm Shollenberger Januzzi & Wolfe, LLP said, “The very skills required for safe driving – concentration, situational awareness, swift reaction time, visual processing and sound judgment – are impacted by concussions.” They also wrote that “it’s best for victims to play it safe and stay off the road as much as they can in the aftermath of a concussion.”
Concussions hurt your ability to drive which is a major way that concussions can affect your way of life.
Concentration and Concussion
Medical News Today reported on a study investigating long-term effects of concussions in athletes. They wrote: “The results [of the study] indicate that there is abnormal brain wave activity for years after a concussion, as well partial wasting away of the motor pathways, which can lead to significant attention problems.”
If you suffered from a concussion because of an accident and need a personal injury attorney in Nashville, call Bart Durham (after going to the doctor, of course). Our initial consultation is free.