Car accidents can be devastating even at low speeds. Accident victims may experience a wide range of injuries, especially to the head and neck. One of those injuries is a concussion. While it is one of the milder forms a of traumatic brain injury, seeking treatment for a concussion as soon as possible after an accident is an important first step, and can help minimize long-term damage. Understanding the seriousness of a concussion is the first step to getting treated and recovering from this injury.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild form of a brain injury. When the forces in a car accident cause you to hit your head it can cause brain dysfunction and swelling. If you think you’ve sustained a blow to the head or your head was whipped violently back and forth, you may have sustained a concussion. While the majority of concussion victims will recover fully, up to 5% will experience a life-threatening complication that requires emergency care. When in doubt, it is best to be seen by a qualified medical professional after a car accident.
Concussion symptoms vary
No two concussions are quite alike and symptoms will vary between individuals. This can make diagnosing a concussion a little more tricky. In general, if you experience any of these symptoms you should be treated by a medical professional immediately.
- Loss of consciousness
- Feeling dazed or confused
- Loss of memory
- Severe headaches
- Scalp swelling
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Trouble walking or coordination issues
Treatment for a Concussion
In order to diagnose a concussion, your doctor may order a variety of tests, including neurological tests, CT scans, and MRI scans. Once your concussion has been accurately diagnosed, your doctor will likely require you to take a break from activity for a specified amount of time. During this time you may not be able to play sports, engage in physical work, or even drive. Your doctor will monitor you closely for signs that your brain injury is worsening. In some cases, hospitalization is necessary.
Preventing a Concussion
While you can’t prevent every accident from occurring, there are ways you can minimize the risk of sustaining a concussion. Some of those include:
- Wearing appropriate sports safety gear
- Wearing helmets during high-risk contact sports
- Wearing your seatbelt
- No fighting
- Wearing helmets when riding bikes or motorcycles