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Symptoms of a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Depending on countless factors from the types of vehicles involved to the speed at which they were traveling, a collision can result in devastating injuries. Vehicle occupants can suffer broken bones, spinal cord damage, amputation or paralysis. Numerous types of impacts can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In general, there are three basic levels of TBI: mild, moderate and severe. Victims will often suffer different types of symptoms based on the severity of the injury. From a headache to significant cognitive impairment, any TBI symptom must be discussed with your doctor for a proper diagnosis and course of treatment.

Those facing severe TBI might experience various levels of impaired consciousness:

  • Coma: This level of impairment is characterized by complete unconsciousness. Individuals in a coma do not respond to sound, touch or pain. They cannot communicate or follow directions.
  • Vegetative state: Individuals suffering this level of impaired consciousness are generally still unconscious but might have moments of wakefulness. Patients might respond to sounds, sights or touch, but their reactions are limited. In a vegetative state, patients can’t communicate or follow commands.
  • Minimally conscious state: Injured individuals who begin to transition from unconscious to conscious might have some level of awareness of themselves and their environment. They might be able to follow simple commands or visually track objects in motion.
  • Emerged from a minimally conscious state: Patients who continue to emerge from an unconscious state of impairment can slowly begin to communicate consistently, use objects or answer simple questions.
  • Post-traumatic confusional state: Even after gaining consciousness, individuals suffering from a severe TBI might still experience cognitive impairment. They might have difficulty remembering things, recognizing people they know or forming new memories. The cognitive impairment might also show physical signs such as difficulty walking or talking.

Every TBI is different and injured motorists can expect to experience different symptoms. From blurred vision and difficulty concentrating to impaired consciousness, these symptoms can be severe and life-altering. Individuals are wise to seek medical care after a serious motor vehicle collision to ensure their injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.

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