After an accident the signs of a concussion can be sloughed off and explained away. A recent study in the Journal of Trauma Nursing found a failure to complain and recognize concussions in female high school athletes led to underreporting of the condition.
The researchers surveyed 77 high school students about their sports related head injuries and concussion symptoms. A majority of the students didn’t associate the signs and symptoms with a concussion.
In my practice, I have seen the same trend with people injured in accidents. The key to proper treatment is a timely diagnosis, so if you’ve been involved in an accident and you are feeling any of the following, you should bring it to your doctor’s attention.
Feeling out of sorts: This can include memory changes, being in a fog and lightheadedness
Change in sleep pattern: This can include insomnia or sleeping too much
Headaches: A dull boring headache or neck pain that doesn’t get better with aspirin or ibuprofen
Mood changes: This can include depression, tiredness, anxiety
Sensitivity: This can include sensitivity to light and/or sound
Because the symptoms of a concussion are pretty subtle and can be explained away by folks injured in accidents, it is important to watch for these changes if you’ve been in an accident. Remember, the key to successful treatment is early diagnosis.