A concussion, even a mild concussion, is a traumatic brain injury. While some side effects show up immediately, some might not show up for hours or even a day or two. The effects of a concussion often affect sleep routines, memory, coordination, concentration, and balance.
You could suffer a concussion if you hit or shake your head hard enough. For example, hitting your head on a steering wheel or window could cause a concussion, as could a severe jolt that you might receive after hitting a solid object or if a speeding vehicle runs into you. Learn if you are experiencing symptoms of a delayed concussion by referring to the list of symptoms below that our personal injury attorneys compiled our symptoms below.
4 Different Types of Concussion Symptoms
Concussion symptoms generally fall under four categories: Cognitive, physical, emotional, and sleep.
If a concussion causes cognitive issues, it could cause you to:
- Have trouble thinking clearly;
- Have trouble concentrating;
- Have trouble with remembering new information; and
- Feeling as though you are in a fog.
Physical issues related to concussions include:
- Fuzzy vision;
- Blurry vision;
- Slurred speech;
- Inability to balance;
- Issues with taste and smell;
- Ear ringing;
- Feeling fatigued and/or tired; and
- Being sensitive to noise and/or light.
Effects of a concussion could also show up as emotional issues, including:
- Anxiety; and
- The person is more emotional than normal.
Finally, a concussion could affect your sleep by causing you to sleep more or less than usual or by causing you to have trouble falling asleep.
Timeline of Symptoms
Any of these symptoms could appear right away or take some time—even months—to appear. In some cases, you might not notice a symptom until you try to do something you don’t often do. In other cases, a person might not realize his or her behavior change is due to a concussion.
Because concussions, especially mild concussions, are not physical damage to the brain, doctors can only determine if you have a concussion by asking you about any changes in your behavior, sleep, memory, and physical illnesses.
- Headaches could start up to seven days after you suffer a concussion.
- Vertigo could manifest months after a brain injury.
- Some people have symptoms that last longer than three weeks. If these symptoms—headaches, cognitive difficulties, and dizziness last longer than three months, you could have post-concussion syndrome.
Concussion Danger Signs
If certain symptoms continue to persist, you could have a blood clot that formed in your head and is crowding the brain.
You should seek medical advice immediately if:
- The headache does not go away and seems to be getting worse;
- If nausea and/or vomiting does not go away;
- If you can’t seem to wake up;
- If you feel weak, numb, or your coordination continues to decrease;
- If your speech is slurred;
- If one pupil is larger than the other pupil;
- If you start having seizures or convulsions;
- If you lose consciousness;
- If you seem to be more confused, agitated, or restless;
- If you cannot recognize places and/or people; and
- If someone comments on your unusual behavior.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
If you suffer repeated blows to the head, you could develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, later in life. CTE usually shows up years after suffering a concussion. While most cases of CTE happen after repeated blows to the head, a few cases could involve just one blow to the head. The condition is still relatively new, and scientists are still studying it.
The only way a doctor can make a definitive diagnosis is through an autopsy, which shows changes in the brain. However, CTE presents with certain symptoms, including confusion, memory loss, erratic behavior, difficulty balancing, becoming depressed and/or suicidal, issues with concentrating, and becoming aggressive.
If medical professionals suspect CTE, they may work with you to get a complete medical history then order neurological exams, brain imaging, mental status testing, and other diagnostic tests that might help form a diagnosis.
As of 2020, scientists have not found a treatment for CTE. The only way to prevent it is to avoid head injuries. Even though you cannot prevent a head injury in a car accident, you can prevent subsequent head injuries, so that a car accident head injury will not form the tipping point for developing CTE.
You can prevent some concussions, but not all—simply because you sometimes cannot prevent the accident that causes a concussion. To minimize the emergence of CTE later in life, minimize concussions during sports and other recreational activities by wearing the appropriate equipment and following concussion protocols for the activity.
When you are driving, be sure to wear your seat belt and ensure that all safety systems in your vehicle are working properly. The newer vehicles have more airbags and safety features to help minimize concussions.
Exercising helps to build muscles in your legs, which helps with your balance and lessens the chances of falling and hitting your head. You should also keep items off the floor of your home. If you should trip over them and hit your head on a piece of furniture or the floor, you could suffer a concussion.
Lessening the chances of concussions in other areas of your life means that should you suffer a concussion in a car accident, it will hopefully not lead to issues such as CTE later in life.
If you suffer from injuries, including a concussion from a car accident, contact a brain injury lawyer for a free consultation.