Blunt force head trauma is a commonly used term when discussing head injuries. Primarily, this is used by medical staff, news media as well as doctors when the specific reason for a head injury isn’t clear. Also known as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), it is the most significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the US, with close to 1.5 million cases reported annually. National statistics estimate between 50-70 percent of TBI accidents are the result of a motor vehicle crash.
Vehicle-related falls, accidents, collisions, and injuries are the second leading cause of blunt force head trauma. Here are a few things you should know about blunt force head traumas;
What is Blunt Force Head Trauma?
In general, blunt force trauma (also referred to simply as blunt trauma) is an injury caused by an object striking or hitting a part of the body, without entering the body. Specifically, with head traumas, these are head or brain injuries that occur and cause lasting damage to the brain’s shape, size or functionality. Blunt force head traumas are dangerous mainly because they can cause long-term damage that may not manifest or show signs immediately.
Causes of Blunt Force Head Injury
Automobile and other vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of blunt force head trauma across the world. With better roads and faster vehicles, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of accidents. Moreover, not wearing helmets, seatbelts and other safety gear, speeding, not following traffic rules, reckless and drunk driving create the perfect environment for head trauma accidents.
Finally, not having dedicated bike lanes, pedestrian crossings, road signs, etc. also lead to accidents. Newborns and children under the age of 4 and adults over the age of 60 are especially at risk of blunt force head traumas.
The Types of Blunt Force Head Trauma Injury
Blunt force trauma, as described above, is trauma caused without penetration. This can happen in one of four ways described below;
- An abrasion is destruction of the skin, which usually involves the superficial layers of the epidermis only. Scratches, grazes and patterned abrasions are usually superficial and least harmful
- A contusion is an effusion of blood into the tissues, due to the rupture of blood vessel, caused by blunt trauma. It is a painful swelling and rearing of subcutaneous tissues usually without the destruction of skin. However, the skin turns black and/or blue due to blood clotting around the impact area. Brain contusions can lead to impairment of functions performed by that part of the brain.
- A laceration results from the blunt impact of significant force to tear the skin, leaving strands of subcutaneous tissues bridging the wound. A cerebral laceration is similar to a contusion, but poses higher danger to the normal functioning of the victim
- A fracture is a blunt impact of significant force to a bone that results in cracking of, in this case, the cranium.
Knowing the primary symptoms that indicate a blunt force head trauma is important because many of these may not show at the time of accident but tend to occur in the week or month following an accident. In such cases, one may tend to overlook an overlap of 2-3 symptoms and thus, could cause the trauma to worsen.
Below are some of the symptoms patients display in the aftermath of a blunt force head trauma accident. If you or any of your loved ones display any of these symptoms, get medical attention right away, to get immediate diagnosis and treatment.
- Vomiting or a general feel of nauseousness
- Constant headaches
- Minor paralysis, body numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in some body parts
- Loss of consciousness
- Dilated pupils, droopy eyelid or facial weakness
- Vision changes such as blurred vision or seeing double, not able to tolerate bright light, loss of eye movement, or blindness
- A clear or blood-tinged liquid oozing out of the ears or nose. This is most probably the Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
- Dizziness and balance problems
- Breathing problems, slowing pulse or slow breathing rate, with an increase in blood pressure
- Ringing in the ears or changes in hearing
- Cognitive difficulties
- Inappropriate emotional responses
- Speech difficulties such as slurred speech, inability to understand and/or articulate words
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of bowel control or bladder control
Treatment of Blunt Force Head Trauma Injuries
Treatment for a head trauma injury depends on the type, severity, recency of the injury, as well as age, fitness level and medical history of the patient. Avoid self-medication and approach a specialist right away to begin treatment. Treatment may include a combination of medication, surgery, and rehabilitation. The duration and costs of the treatment also depend on the severity of the case.
What Do You Need to Do?
A blunt force head trauma is not a scenario that one can truly fully prepare for. These accidents usually occur in the most unusual circumstances. However, it might do one well to educate oneself as well as loved ones about vehicle accidents and brain injuries, and ways to avoid them.
It is also advisable to have a reliable and experienced personal injury lawyer that you can reach out to if you find yourself in an accident. Lawyers are trained not just to fight and win cases for you but also save you from the exhaustive legal and other formalities that need to be performed.
If you live around Greater Atlanta and want a personal injury lawyer for situations such as these, contact one of Atlanta’s trusted personal injury lawyers, attorney Riah Greathouse for a free consult.