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What are the signs that you have a concussion after a car accident?

November 4, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Common concussion symptoms and what you should do

Concussion injuries are very common after car accidents.  They are also quite often missed by medical doctor. So the people who suffer from concussions (and their families, friends and employers) become increasingly frustrated and bewildered.

As an attorney, I take great interest in concussion and brain injury because I work with and help people injured in auto accidents. Many of my own clients suffer from concussion injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In many ways, the very same concussion symptoms and risks that athletes face also apply to car accident victims. With the recent NFL settlement with the players, there has been quite a bit of media attention regarding the dangers of life-changing concussions from youth, high school and professional sports. There’s also new information on the likelihood of subsequent concussion injuries once the athlete returns to the game.

All of this can help people who have been injured in car accidents better understand the problems and symptoms that they are now experiencing.

For most people, they will  hit their head, be dazed or confused, or even have a brief loss of consciousness (even though losing consciousness is not necessary to sustain a very serious concussion or brain injury). Many people who are dazed but do not lose consciousness in a car accident are  reluctant to seek medical attention.

My advice as an attorney is to always get checked out after a car accident to be safe, because one of the things that make concussion injuries so perplexing – and a reason why they’re so commonly missed by emergency rooms – is that the symptoms from concussions can also develop over time.

Emergency rooms are acute care facilities. It is very common that concussions and brain injuries are missed by medical personnel  who will focus on the acute and obvious injuries. There have been studies that have found that up to 70% of all traumatic brain injuries are missed in emergency rooms.

Today I wanted to share this great Sports Concussion Toolkit from the American Academy of Neurology.

Although it focuses on sports concussions, it is still very useful for people who suffer concussion injuries from car accidents.

One of the most helpful things for people and families who are concerned about the possibility of a concussion is this Concussion Quick Check. The Concussion Quick Check starts with recognizing the signs of concussion, including:

  • Behavior or personality changes,
  • Blank stare, dazed look,
  • Changes to balance, coordination, or reaction time,
  • Delayed or slowed spoken or physical responses,
  • Disorientation,
  • Loss of consciousness,
  • Memory loss,
  • Slurred speech,
  • Trouble controlling emotions,
  • Vomiting.
  • Blurry vision/double vision,
  • Confusion,
  • Dizziness,
  • Grogginess,
  • Drowsiness,
  • Headache,
  • Lack of focus,
  • Nausea,
  • Sensitivity to light or sound.

If you suspect you’ve suffered a concussion injury from a car accident

If you suspect a concussion injury, it’s important to immediately address these concerns.

Contact emergency services. And do not get back in the game – whether it’s returning to work, going back to sports or your day to day life – until you’re checked out by a doctor who is trained in managing concussions and brain injury.

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