Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects at least 50,000 Canadians each year, according to University Health Network’s Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Auto accidents are responsible for more than half of all TBI incidents in the country. Children, teens and athletes may be susceptible to brain injuries during sports and other recreational activities in Ontario.
The long-term implications of TBI can include cognitive problems, such as trouble making decisions or concentrating and difficultly with judgment. Brain injuries are not always immediately apparent, and a delay in treatment could prove fatal. This is why it is so important to seek medical attention after a car crash, assault, sports injury, slip/trip and fall, or other accident.
Some signs of brain injury – such as convulsions, scalp wounds, clear fluid or blood draining from the ears, and vomiting – are difficult to miss. Other symptoms are more subtle and may be easy to overlook or misinterpret.
Below are five signs you or a loved one may have sustained a brain injury and are in need of prompt medical assistance.
(Note that signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the injury, and the items below do not constitute a complete list.)
1. A loss of consciousness – A person who suffers a TBI may lose consciousness for anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Don’t overlook a brief “blackout” — it may be a sign of serious injury.
2. A change in behavior – Be aware of even minor personality changes after a head injury, such as a fall in the home or a collision on the hockey rink. A TBI victim may feel or act different than usual. Moodiness, agitation, or even anxiety and depression may be present. Slurred speech and a loss of coordination are other possible signs of a serious brain injury.
3. A headache that won’t go away – An accident victim or someone struck in the head may write off a lingering headache as something “to be expected.” However, a persistent or worsening headache is actually a sign of serious injury. The TBI also may be accompanied by neck pain or other body discomfort.
4. Changes in senses – A traumatic brain injury can mean a change in the senses. This can include blurred vision, a strange taste in the mouth, unusual smells or a ringing in the ears (tinnitus). A TBI victim also may be especially sensitive to bright lights and loud noises.
5. Unexplained weakness and fatigue – A brain injury can cause an overall feeling of fatigue and sleepiness. In fact, those with severe traumatic brain injury may have difficulty waking up from a nap. TBI also may lead to a feeling of weakness in individual limbs or digits, such as the toes or fingers. Also be on alert for fingers and toes that feel numb or tingly.
Have you or a family member recently suffered a brain injury in an accident in Ontario? Learn more about the steps to take when a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury. For questions about compensation, call the Prezler Law Firm at 1-800-JUSTICE®.