TBI—The “Invisible Injury” | How Its Symptoms Can Go Unnoticed
The mere term “traumatic brain injury” can be scary—and it should be. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), TBI is one of the most frequent causes of death and permanent disability in the country. Over the past 15 years, the incidence of traumatic brain injury has jumped by more than 50%, with nearly 3 million people visiting emergency rooms across the United States every year for treatment of TBI. It’s estimated that more than 50,000 people will die this year because of a traumatic brain injury, and as many as 300,000 people will require hospitalization.
As devastating as a traumatic brain injury can be, it would seem that its symptoms and consequences would be obvious, but they’re not. Known as the “invisible injury,” TBI has many symptoms or side effects that can take days, weeks, or even months to fully manifest. Furthermore, many of the symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions—sleep disorders, depression, nausea, vertigo, and headaches all can be wrongfully attributed to other causes.
Why Traumatic Brain Injuries Can Be Difficult to Diagnose
The most obvious reason you might not recognize a TBI is that the injuries are all inside your head—literally. Unless you have an obvious skull fracture, or something penetrates your skull, you may mistake a concussion or traumatic brain injury as nothing more than a bump on the head. Other factors that may mislead you include:
- The misperception that a TBI always causes loss of consciousness – You can have a TBI without blacking out or feeling dizzy or lightheaded, even for an instant. In fact, you can suffer a traumatic brain injury in a low-speed, low-impact motor vehicle accident or with a seemingly innocuous blow to the head.
- The false belief that TBIs are always caused by a blow or blunt trauma to the head – To the contrary, you can sustain a serious TBI without any impact to your head, neck, or shoulders. Consider a whiplash injury, where your head snaps back and forth, causing your brain to bounce off the inside of your skull. That can cause significant bruising, tearing, or bleeding in your brain.
- Many traumatic brain injuries don’t show up on an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan – A clean scan can give you false belief that you haven’t suffered a TBI.
The Long-Term Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury
In a study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, researchers concluded that traumatic brain injury can lead to permanent disabilities that “increase long-term mortality and reduced life expectation.” Researchers found that even one TBI can have a wide range of negative side effects, such as seizures, sleep disorders, and psychiatric illness, conditions that may last for months or years after the injury.
Contact the Experienced TBI Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we know from experience that a traumatic brain injury can change your life in an instant. We provide a free initial consultation to anyone with a potential personal injury claim. To set up a meeting with an aggressive, results-oriented personal injury attorney, send us an e-mail or call us at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.