Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are some of the most serious injuries people can suffer in an automobile collision. Crashes account for about 14% of all TBIs. Unlike many other serious injuries, such as broken phones, TBIs can result from a number of risk factors in a crash. Broken bones, on the other hand, are usually the result of extreme pressure applied to a limb.
Despite the myriad ways in which a bone can break, there is really only one way in which a car crash breaks a bone. However, there are several different ways in which a motor vehicle collision can result in brain injuries. Familiarizing yourself with these three primary means of hurting your brain can help you take steps to keep your brain as safe as possible.
Blunt force trauma to the head can cause TBIs
When people imagine head or brain injuries, they most likely first think of a blow to the head as the primary cause. It definitely is true that many brain injuries in car crashes come from someone striking their head on the steering wheel, on a window or windshield, or even on something in the environment that got thrown from the vehicle. Strong blows to the head can cause bruising and bleeding on the brain, which will result in the worrisome symptoms of a TBI.
Shaking or rolling can also cause brain injuries
Just because you didn't hit your head on something doesn't mean there aren't other potential risk factors. Because your brain is effectively trapped inside the skull, rapid, violent motion can cause bruising and swelling as it pushes against the skull.
If your vehicle rolled, flipped or otherwise got pushed around in traffic, the violent motions involved could result in the dangerous swelling of your brain.
Penetrating injuries can also cause damage to your brain
Unlike blunt force trauma, which applies pressure to the outside of the head, penetrating injuries usually involve shrapnel from the accident that strikes and cuts through the skin and skull of someone in a crash. While penetrating injuries are often the most dramatic and obvious, they are not always worse or more dangerous than closed head traumatic brain injuries.
Regardless of how someone suffers a brain injury, immediate medical attention and expert care are likely going to be necessary for a full recovery. If you struck your head or experienced strong rolling or shaking in your vehicle during a crash, it is best to err on the side of caution and go to the hospital after a collision.
You don't necessarily need to take a ride in the ambulance, but getting your head checked sooner rather than later could reduce the severity of your symptoms and increase the number of options you have available for treatment.