When an individual is in a car accident, and the head hits an object, such as the steering wheel or windshield, one of the results is often a traumatic brain injury. A TBI can range from minor to severe, and victims with moderate to severe injuries often require treatment and therapy throughout their life.
A mild brain injury may not require any treatment except for rest. However, the treatment for more serious TBIs is intense and ongoing.
Symptoms of a TBI
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of a mild injury may include headache, fatigue, light sensitivity, nausea, dizziness, sleeping issues and a brief loss of consciousness. Moderate and severe symptoms include physical and cognitive changes and may include:
- Repeated vomiting
- Coordination loss
- Extreme confusion
- Combative behavior
The symptoms of a mild TBI usually go away within a week or two, while moderate and severe symptoms may last for weeks or months, and there may be physical, mental and behavioral changes that last long-term.
Treatment for moderate and severe brain injuries
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes discusses various treatments and rehabilitation that a TBI victim may require. The immediate and emergency care that an accident victim may receive include surgery and medication to prevent death, stabilize vital functions and minimize further damage.
After stabilization, the patient begins various forms of rehabilitation. This usually occurs initially in the hospital and may include physical therapy, neuropsychology, speech therapy, nerve retraining, respiratory therapy and vocational therapy. Many of these rehab services continue once the patient leaves the hospital. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, rehab may continue for months, years or even a patient’s lifetime.