Checking yourself and the other people in your vehicle for injuries is an instinctive response to a motor vehicle collision. You know that you shouldn’t move someone with signs of a spinal cord injury and that you need to provide immediate first aid to someone bleeding profusely.
Even if you have first aid training, you can still easily overlook the warning signs of some very concerning injuries. For example, you might assume that you or your passengers have no injuries when in fact there is some risk of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
TBIs can endanger people’s lives in extreme cases and cause worsening symptoms when they go untreated. Why might you overlook the warning signs of a brain injury after a crash?
Your body tries to overcome your symptoms
A car crash is a traumatic experience that often provokes a stress response from your body. The rush of chemicals produced in response to the collision can help you get out of a dangerous situation, but they can also prevent you from noticing pain.
When you don’t feel hurt right after a crash, you may fail to properly screen yourself in the upcoming days, which might mean that a brain injury starts developing worse symptoms.
There is a delay in symptom onset
Even if you don’t have a powerful stress response to the crash, the brain injury may not produce any major symptoms in the first hours or days after you get hurt. It may only be when the bruising or swelling starts to affect different parts of your brain that you may start noticing concerning symptoms.
People may start developing new symptoms or the ones they have after the first few days can get worse as their injuries progress.
The symptoms may not be what you expect
It can be hard to identify the symptoms of a brain injury because they are often so different. Some people have a major change in personality, while others report a persistent headache or changes in their sleep habits.
Given that brain injuries present in so many different ways, people can have a hard time screening themselves for symptoms and recognizing indications that they should see a doctor. It is often very easy to overlook the signs of a brain injury in a car crash scenario, so it may be a good option to see a doctor to check for signs of a TBI after a major crash.
Getting professional medical evaluation and support is often necessary for those with a brain injury caused by a motor vehicle collision.