The human brain is an extremely complex organ, directly involved in controlling or regulating almost every body function—memory, emotional control, motor skills, language skills, all your senses, and so much more.
For that reason, the symptoms of a TBI can vary wildly from person to person, depending on what region of the brain has been injured, as well as the severity of the injury.
Keep an eye out for these possible indications you may have a TBI:
1. You Hit Your Head or Suffered Whiplash in the Crash
Simply hitting your head doesn’t guarantee that you’ll suffer a TBI. But head trauma, or having your head and neck whip violently, is a common precursor to these types of injuries—particularly if you experienced a loss of consciousness during or after the accident.
It’s important for bikers to understand that motorcycle helmets don’t necessarily protect against TBIs. Helmets are great at defending the skull against external traumas, such as skull fractures. But many TBIs (particularly concussions) are the result of collisions between the brain and the inside of the skull, often due to rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head. So, if you got in an accident while wearing a helmet, it’s still possible you have a TBI from the crash.
2. You’re Experiencing Pain or Sensory Issues
In many cases, TBIs can directly cause physical pain or disturbances to your senses. Common symptoms that you might experience after a TBI or concussion include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty with balance or coordination
- Oversensitivity to light or noise
- Ringing in the ears
- Changes in your sense of taste and smell
- Seizures or convulsions
If you have any of these symptoms, go to the doctor as soon as you can.
3. You’re Having Cognitive Difficulties
The brain is critically important for thinking, processing and remembering information. If you’re worried that you or someone you love may have a brain injury, look for signs such as:
- Memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty concentrating
Even symptoms like constantly feeling confused, disoriented, or even just “foggy” can be signs of a brain injury.
4. You’re Experiencing Social or Emotional Distress
Your brain is a big part of who you are, how you act and behave, how you interact with others, and how you manage stress and emotions. When certain areas of the brain are damaged, you may experience social or emotional struggles such as:
- Mood swings and general loss of emotional control
- Feeling depressed, anxious, or sad
- Feeling constantly irritable or agitated
- Personality changes
5. Your Sleep Habits Have Changed
Sleep disorders are extremely common among people who have suffered brain injuries—by some estimates, more than 60 percent of people with TBIs develop long-term sleep difficulties.
Some of these issues can include:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive sleeping
- Extreme sleepiness or drowsiness during the day, and sometimes even falling asleep suddenly and unexpectedly (narcolepsy)
- Other significant changes in sleeping patterns