Why are Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Often Missed? [Video]

By Roger Foisy on February 27th, 2014

Mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) are often missed by both the injured person and medical practitioners.

In the following video, I explain the reasons why mild traumatic brain injury is typically overlooked:

1. After an accident causing injury, the most obvious physical injuries are prioritized.

For example, a pounding headache following a car accident may be attributed to a neck strain whiplash injury and upper back pain, rather than a brain injury. People fail to think “brain first”, dismissing symptoms of brain injury as side-effects from their more obvious injuries.

Furthermore, many healthcare providers do not specialize in brain injury and therefore may not recognize the severity of the brain injury.

2. An injured person’s behaviour following an incident is not a reliable indicator of the extent of their brain injury.

The brain is complex. In many cases, brain injury symptoms do not manifest until time has passed. Residual post-concussive effects can be subtle, leaving the injured person with a vague sense that something is wrong.

The lasting symptoms of an mTBI can make life difficult for the injured person, particularly if they do not realize that they have suffered a brain injury. Without having anything to attribute their feelings to, the injured person may feel confused and frustrated.

3. Mild traumatic brain injuries are difficult to test for.

Unfortunately, even when an mTBI is suspected, testing is difficult. Neurological imaging evidence can be elusive because the damage is frequently not obvious.

Additionally, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is limited in diagnosing mTBI. The GCS is an assessment of the severity of a brain injury, used by healthcare providers such as paramedics, nurses, and doctors. However, a normal GCS does not mean that the person has not suffered a brain injury.  As mentioned above, a person may seem fine immediately after an accident but experience symptoms as time goes on.

It is important to think “brain first” to recognize where your symptoms are coming from. If you are aware of mTBI and the symptoms, you can seek out the help you require.

Symptoms that persist after an accident, including headaches, dizziness, ear ringing, problems with concentration, trouble focusing, or memory difficulties, can indicate a possible brain injury. These difficulties can prevent you from returning to the normal activities of living, and should be taken seriously.

Over the next few months, we will be releasing more videos about mild traumatic brain injury.

Available now:

Check back with us to learn about the following mTBI topics:

  • Accessing Funding after Suffering an mTBI in a Motor Vehicle Accident
  • Finding the Right Team for Your Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Coping with the Emotional and Psychological Impact of a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

>> Roger R. Foisy is an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Ontario who has helped clients with brain injuries. If you have suffered a brain injury, do not hesitate to contact us today for immediate support and a free consultation.

*Roger R. Foisy has completed courses in Neurorehabilitation and Advanced Brain Injury Rehabilitation from Brock University. However, he is not a medical professional. The advice in this blog is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.

More on Brain Injury from Roger R. Foisy:
Life Changes: Living with a Loved One Suffering from an mTBI
What You Need to Know About Sports-related Injuries: Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries and Concussions
What are the Symptoms and Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

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