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Recognizing brain injury in a loved one after a crash

Hearing that a loved one was involved in a car accident may induce worry and panic. Your mind immediately imagines the worst possible scenario.

You may breathe a sigh of relief when a loved one comes home after a car accident and seems to have few or no injuries. But just because injuries are not visible doesn’t mean no injuries have occurred.

Unfortunately, brain injuries are not always apparent right after a trauma like a vehicle accident.

These are some of the signs that your loved one may have suffered brain damage as a result of a car crash.

Change in cognitive function

In the days after the accident, pay attention to your loved one and how they return to their routine. Look for issues, such as:

  • Challenges understanding what you tell them
  • Difficulties understanding how routine processes work
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Changes in decision-making

One instance may not be a sign that there is temporary or even permanent brain damage, but a pattern of issues could prove to be more worrisome.

Physical symptoms

If your loved one does not speak up about pain, it will be challenging to determine if there are physical symptoms of brain damage from the accident. Look for changes in their behavior that could indicate they are in pain, such as:

  • Extreme irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more than usual
  • Aversions to light
  • Difficulty or hesitation to move around like they did before the accident

Your loved one may not want to admit they are in pain or tell anyone they have symptoms that are inhibiting their ability to get back to their old life.

Pay attention to unusual behaviors that happen frequently and talk to your loved one about seeking medical care. The sooner your loved one seeks treatment for a brain injury, the sooner you can locate suitable rehabilitation options for their recovery.

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