Every brain injury is different depending on the severity of the car collision. There are numerous types of brain injuries varying in severity depending on the amount and type of force to the skull. Sometimes the injury only affects one area of the brain, sometimes multiple parts or all of the brain.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injury
Concussions can vary in severity, sometimes causing lifelong impairments. Often, rehabilitation can help to reduce the long term effects of concussions or whiplash, according to Brad Nakase who is a car accident lawyer
. Many people are released from the hospital without guidance or referrals to brain injury rehabilitation clinics at all.
• A concussion can take months or even years to fully heal.
• If a concussion causes a blood clot in the brain, it can be fatal.
• Concussions may cause shearing of the brain’s connecting nerves which would result in brain damage.
• Some concussions also present with skull fractures, brain swelling, or bleeding, but some do not. This can make diagnosing concussions tricky and sometimes the diagnosis is given by ruling out every other possible cause.
• Concussions do not always show up on diagnostic tests such as CAT Scans.
• Someone with a concussion may stay conscious but dazed.
• Someone with a concussion may experience loss of consciousness.
• A concussion happens when trauma to the brain occurs from impact or sudden change of momentum. Cranial nerves may be damaged, or blood vessels may stretch in the concussion.
• Concussions are the most common traumatic brain injury. They can happen in both open and closed head injuries.
• Concussions can occur from direct impact or sudden movement to the brain. Common causes are gunshot or knife wounds, violent head shaking, or sudden momentum changes such as whiplash.
• Contusions are bleeding on the brain; the blood leaks into surrounding brain tissue.
• The cause of contusions is often a direct blow to the head.
• Large contusions may need to be removed or drained during surgery. They can cause pressure on the brain.
• These are “twin contusions” where matching contusions are present at the site of impact and on the opposite side of the brain.
• The cause of a coup-contrecoup is when the impact causes the brain to slam into the skull on the opposite side.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries
• These injuries are where the brain nerves tear and disrupt regular brain functions.
• If there is extensive tearing throughout the brain, chemicals can be released and cause more serious injuries.
• Diffuse Axonal Injuries are often caused by shaking of the head or momentum such as in car crashes or Shaken Baby Syndrome.
• These types of injuries can cause brain damage, coma, or even death.
• Depending on where the tears happen in the brain, there can be many different functional impairments.
Knifes, bullet, or wounds from any other sharp objects are examples of penetrating injuries. Often the infection is a concern as bone fragments, hair or skin might be forced into the wound.
• Guns are the largest cause of traumatic brain injury fatalities.
• 91% of gun-related deaths are due to traumatic brain injuries.
• When an object enters and passes through the skull, coming out the other side, it is called a through-and-through injury. These can cause a lot of damage, tearing and rupture of brain tissue.
• Objects which penetrate the brain can ricochet and cause a lot of damage.
Acquired Brain Injury
This injury results from strokes, anoxia, tumors, toxins, hypoxia, and degenerative disease. It is not caused by an outside force.
What Is Anoxia?
Anoxia happens when the brain does not get oxygen, and therefore brain cells and functions do not happen.
Types of Anoxia
• Anoxia: Brain injury from the brain’s oxygen supply being completely cut off.
• Anemic Anoxia: When the injury is caused because the blood does not carry enough oxygen.
• Toxic Anoxia: When toxins or metabolites block the brain from using the oxygen in the blood.
What Is Hypoxia?
Hypoxia is when the brain receives some oxygen, but not enough to function properly.
• Hypoxic Ischemic Brain Injury is because low blood pressure or blood flow causes the brain not to get enough blood and therefore, oxygen.
Levels of Brain Injury
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain injuries are classified as mild when:
• There is a brief loss of consciousness, only a few seconds or minutes.
• There is no loss of consciousness at all.
• Brain scans and tests may seem normal.
• There is a change of mental state at the time of the injury. This could be a loss of consciousness, confusion or being dazed.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
These brain injuries are usually from moderate or minor head injuries. These can occur from a non-penatrating impact to the heads or shaking injuries. Some moderate brain injuries will cause no long-term consequences. However, some brain injuries can cause devastating life-long disabilities or impairments.
Moderate Brain Injuries are classified when:
• Loss of consciousness for a few minutes or hours.
• Confusion or daze lasts for days or weeks.
• There are behavioral, physical, or cognitive impairments which last for months or permanently.
Generally, moderate traumatic brain injuries are easy to recover from. Most people who have permanent deficits can learn to compensate for them through rehabilitation.
Severe Brain Injury
Severe brain injuries are due to penetrating wounds or crushing blows to the head. The delicate brain tissues are often ripped, torn, or crushed from the impact. Severe brain injuries are really difficult to recover from and sometimes may be life-threatening.
When the sever brain injury is an open head injury, there is a long hospitalization period and rehabilitation. Open injuries occur when the head is crushed or seriously fractured, so the skull splits open. They can result in serious brain injury, and there is usually no return to the pre-injury brain condition.
Traumatic Brain Injury can affect sensation, language, emotions, or thinking on either a short-term or long-term basis. They can also cause epilepsy or increase the risk of degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
If multiple mild traumatic brain injuries happen over time, then can be cumulative neurological damage. They could cause cognitive, physical, or behavioral defects, or even be fatal.