November 6th, 2020
Screening for Traumatic Brain Injury
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines traumatic brain injury by as “a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain” that can result from external force to the head, including whiplash, blast exposure, or penetrating injury. Many unfortunate people who sustain such injuries that can impact their brain function go undiagnosed, untreated and often remain unaware that the reason they continue to feel poorly is because of an injury to their brain. A car accident. A football tackle. An unfortunate fall. These things — and more — can cause head injuries even when you do not hit your head. Certain forces of sudden acceleration and deceleration exerted on the head and neck in any of these, or a myriad of other, brain-injury causing events, can cause the brain to bounce or twist in the skull and/or hit against the hard, sharp-ridged walls of the inside of the skull. These type of high velocity forces we can experience through even routine activities can stretch, injure and even kill brain cells, which in turn creates chemical changes in the brain that can lead to cascading, permanent changes.
Brain injuries can range from mild (like a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to severe and can result in long-term complications that negatively affect thinking, sensation (including sight or balance), language, and/or emotions. If you notice something seems off about you or a loved one following a particular event in which subjected to physical forces, regardless of whether the head took a direct hit, here is a quick list of common questions to consider for further exploration of a possible brain injury.
- Are you experiencing headaches/migraines?
- Are you experiencing memory and/or concentration problems?
- Do you notice ringing in your ears and/or blurry or double vision?
- Are you experiencing abnormal speech and/or difficulty articulating words?
- Are you suffering from depression and/or anxiety?
- Are you experiencing mood swings or personality changes?
- Are you experiencing sluggishness, fatigue or an irregular sleep pattern?
- Are you experiencing neck pain?
- Are you experiencing dizziness and/or balance problems?
By no means is this an exhaustive list of considerations for traumatic brain injury and represents merely some considerations to orient one to the type of signs and symptoms medical professionals often ask when they have reason to suspect a traumatic brain injury. However, if the answer to one or more of these questions is “yes,” a consultation with a qualified health care provider as soon as possible is probably a good idea, including seeking emergency treatment if the circumstances warrant. As well, if you believe you have sustained a brain injury because of the actions of another, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to explore your rights.