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What do football and car accidents have in common?

Football fans in California may be aware of the detrimental effects of playing the game. In past years, discussions around concussions and their short- and long-term effects have been common, even resulting in a movie starring Will Smith. What some people might not know is car accidents can also cause traumatic brain injuries that result in similar symptoms as a concussion. Being aware of the common signs may help one seek medical help.

According to Medical News Today, a concussion is considered to be a mild TBI. When the head receives a jolt, whether due to a sports hit or car crash, the brain hits the side of skull, resulting in a variety of symptoms due to possible bleeding, bruising or nerve fiber tearing. They symptoms associated with a mild TBI often include headache and some short-term bewilderment. Multiple concussions and more severe head traumas can result in more serious symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic outlines some of the severe complications of a more serious TBI. These may include:

  • Damage to the cranial nerves, leading to vision loss, facial paralysis or problems swallowing
  • Trouble communicating
  • Long-term changes in responsiveness and awareness
  • Seizures
  • Emotional changes such as anger, depression or insomnia
  • Changes in behavior like loss of self control, increased risky behavior or verbal outbursts
  • Degenerative illness such as dementia, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's

The treatment for a TBI varies depending on its severity. Mild injuries usually require time, rest and possibly mild painkillers. More severe injuries may require surgery, prescription medication and/or rehabilitative services.

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