Addressing brain injuries from car accidents

patient picking up colorful blocks

Car accidents can cause all sorts of injuries that can range in seriousness. While some people walk away with just a few scrapes and bruises, others may sustain a severe injury that can have long-term effects, such as a brain injury.

Thousands of car accidents happen every day across the United States, many of which result in brain injuries. In CDC data from 2016 and 2017, more than 24% of all traumatic brain injury hospitalizations were the result of a motor vehicle accident. 

If you or a loved one sustained a brain injury from a car accident, it’s important to know what that means and what to do for proper treatment to minimize the damage.

How to address a brain injury from a car accident 

A brain injury from a car accident is caused by the forces from the collision affecting the brain structures and nerve tissue. They can vary in severity from mild, temporary effects to permanent brain damage, impacting a person’s mobility, cognitive functions and motor functions.

If you or a loved one was in a car accident that required an ambulance, a brain injury would be addressed and diagnosed in the emergency room. In most cases, an accident that resulted in a brain injury likely required emergency services. There’s always a slight chance that a person returns home after an accident without realizing they have sustained a brain injury that requires immediate attention. That’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of a brain injury, including:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory loss
  • Mood changes
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

A brain injury is usually diagnosed by a neuropsychological exam and imaging tests, such as a CT scan.

Treating a brain injury from a car accident

The severity of a brain injury can range from patient to patient, which means that the courses of treatment can as well. For anything beyond temporary symptoms, it’s likely that treatment will be required to address and improve the effects of the injury that can impact a person’s quality of life.

Once a person has been diagnosed with a brain injury after a car accident, they should work with their healthcare providers to determine what the next steps should be. It’s important to seek proper treatment for a brain injury to alleviate symptoms and help restore as much mobility and functioning as possible. In cases of traumatic brain injuries that cause physical, cognitive, and behavioral challenges, rehabilitation is recommended.

Brain injury rehabilitation after a car accident can include:

  • Outpatient therapy — There are several modes of therapy that can help a person with a brain injury improve their mental, emotional and physical health. For instance, physical therapy will play a large role in treatment for those who have reduced mobility and an unstable gait. Guided exercises can help increase balance and coordination. Occupational therapy can help regain their motor skills to the best of their ability so that they can carry out independent tasks, such as getting dressed.
  • Social work — A brain injury after a car accident can make a person feel like their life is at a standstill. A social worker can provide the resources and education they need to return to their everyday responsibilities, such as running errands, attending school or going to work. 
  • Advanced rehab technology — There are many aspects of a brain injury that can be addressed through technology as a way to target and improve particular challenges. One common tool is Ekso GT, a robotic exoskeleton technology. It’s used as part of gait therapy, which improves the positioning of the body while you walk. Ekso GT attaches to the torso and legs to provide support and controlled movement as a person re-learns walk patterns.

Ability KC helps patients address a brain injury from a car accident

Addressing a brain injury as soon as possible after a car accident can minimize the risk of further complications and put a patient on track for recovering as best as they can. While a brain injury can take a toll on a person’s physical, emotional and cognitive health, the right rehabilitation treatments can make a notable difference in their quality of life. 

At Ability KC, our brain injury rehabilitation services can help people who have been in car accidents regain as much of their independence, mobility and general wellness as possible.

Ability KC is a designated Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility (CORF) with a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.