TBI, or traumatic brain injury, is more common than most of us think. In fact, CDC numbers indicate that there are well over 2 million TBI cases each year. These injuries can happen on the sports field, on a construction site, in a car accident or even from tripping while walking or falling off a bike. Almost half of all TBIs are caused by falls, according to CDC data.
The issue is that TBI symptoms are not always readily apparent. After tripping and hitting your head during long, hot shift on a construction site, you might thinks that it’s might normal to have a headache, be excessively tired and not really clear-headed. But these are all signs of a TBI.
5 sneaky symptoms of a TBI
Indications of a TBI can appear right away or not for days or weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic. There are many symptoms of a brain injury, and some are more obvious than others. Most people know that if someone is unconscious, very dizzy or throws up after being hit in the head, a concussion is likely.
But there are other symptoms that often are overlooked. These include:
- Dilated (big) pupils in the eyes
- A slow pulse
- Ringing in the ears
- Not being able to swallow normally
- Tingling in the arms or legs
Because many symptoms are invisible or do not present right away, it is important to see a medical professional any time anyone hits their head: on the job, while playing sports or after a car accident.
The consequences of a TBI
The consequences of a TBI are many and range from mild to severe. In mild cases, a person may lose some time at work, have some memory loss and trouble concentrating. The person may have blurred vision, may be sensitive to light and sound and feel anxious or depressed. These symptoms usually resolve over time.
In moderate to severe cases a victim may not be able to drive or come back to work as symptoms may persist. The person may be confused, have speech problems and changes in personality. This can mean a loss of independence, loss of income, loss of social connection and can lead to depression. Many marriages become strained. A TBI may also affect a person’s ability to parent.
In severe TBI cases the victim will have lost consciousness for minutes to hours. They will not be able to be woken up easily when they are sleeping. They may lose coordination and have trouble talking. These symptoms do not abate over time and can cause permanent injury.
Any time you or someone you care about is hit in the head, see a doctor. If your injury happened at work it may be to your benefit to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney.