Motorcycle accidents are notorious for their increased risk of causing serious injury. So, when you leave the scene feeling more or less in one piece, you may think you are in the clear. Unfortunately, you may have suffered traumatic brain injury, which, in its moderate forms, often does not produce immediate symptoms.
Motorcycle helmets and other safety measures can reduce the risk of severe injury. However, although helmet use does correlate with a lower risk of TBI, it does not eliminate the risk. In particular, if the accident causes you to crash to a halt, the resulting impact of the brain against the interior of the head can cause trauma.
Moderate TBI is often overlooked initially
Initially, moderate TBI presents with a loss of consciousness that lasts less than half an hour, along with some short-term memory loss. When loss of consciousness only lasts for a very brief period, many people do not realize it even happened. They may attribute their fuzzy memory and shakiness to the general shock of the accident. First responders and emergency room personnel may also not be able to identify moderate brain trauma.
In the time following the accident, continue watching for potential symptoms. The most common signs include mood swings, fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea and vertigo. You may notice changes to your ability to speak, remember, coordinate your movements and focus your mind. Blurry vision or buzzing/ringing in the ears can also result from TBI. Some people may experience other symptoms. It is important to watch for changes in your mental and physical state and see a doctor as soon as possible.
How TBI affects your life
Treatment for TBI can take many forms and generally aims to restore function rather than repair the damage to the brain cells, which is currently not typically a feasible option. Patients may undergo surgery; have to go to physical, speech or cognitive therapy; and take medications. This condition, even in its milder forms, can cause substantial discomfort and diminish the ability to work and to enjoy life.