On February 17, 2020, NASCAR driver, Ryan Newman, on his final lap at the Daytona 500 got into a horrific heart stopping crash causing his car to slamming into the wall, and rammed by another car as Newman’s vehicle was flipping in midair. Newman was rushed to the hospital in serious condition and learn he sustain a brain injury.
NASCAR and Formula 1 crashes at over 140 miles per hour may result in the drivers’ brain injuries that are not different than motor vehicle collisions on the roads, according to Brad Nakase, who is a car accident lawyer that is an expert in motor vehicle brain injuries. Sporting crashes among players – although unlike speeds of motor vehicles – are may also result in brain injuries.
There are many different types of brain injuries. Perhaps the most dangerous thing is brain injuries are not always immediately apparent. If you think you may have a brain injury after a sporting accident, seek immediate medical attention.
This article is a primer on types of brain injuries, symptoms, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Types of Brain Injuries from Sporting Collision
NASCAR and Formula 1 crashes at over 140 miles per hours may result in the drivers’ brain injuries that is not different than motor vehicle collision on the roads, according to Brad Nakase who is a car accident attorney who is an expert in brain injuries. Sporting crashes among players – although unlike speeds of motor vehicles – are may also result in brain injuries. There types of brain injuries are:
Concussion – these are the most common types of brain injuries, especially in sporting accidents. Concussions are caused when there is an impact or a sudden change in movement or momentum.
Contusion – these are brain bruises with a little bit of bleeding. Depending on the severity of the contusion, surgery may be required to relieve pressure on the brain or stop the bleed.
Coup-Contrecoup – these are twin contusions created when the force of the impact causes the brain to slam into the opposite side of the skull.
Diffuse Axonal – This is caused by a strong shaking or jostling of the brain, which causes brain structures to tear. These can be mild, like a concussion, or can cause permanent deficits or death.
Penetrating Injuries – These are self-explanatory, a knife, gunshot, or other foreign object has penetrated the skull and into the brain.
Symptoms of a Brain Injury To Look Out For After A Sporting Collision
Brain injury victims may not show all of the symptoms, or only mild ones, but look out for the following signs.
- Uneven or dilated pupils
- Numb fingers or toes
- Difficulty balancing
- Slow response times
- Difficulty thinking
- Sensitivity to light or sound
How Soon Should I Seek Treatment For a Brain Injury?
If you or someone you know has the above symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms like a headache or tiredness are regularly ignored but could be a sign of a serious injury.
Even if you have no symptoms, it is important to be seen by a doctor following a sporting accident. Look after your own health and insist they check you for brain injury when they are running tests. Brain injuries are not always immediately apparent but leaving brain injuries untreated can cause further damage.
Even if you believe you have no injuries from the sporting accident, seek medical assistance immediately after the sporting accident. Adrenaline masks a lot of injuries and you don’t feel the effects until days afterwards. By seeing a doctor right away, you are taking care of your health and ensuring injuries receive swift treatment. This gives you the best chance of preventing permanent damage to your brain or elsewhere on your body. Even if the tests say you are perfectly fine, you will have peace of mind.
Treatment For Traumatic Brain Injuries
In treating traumatic brain injuries, the priorities are:
- Minimizing secondary or additional injury
- Supporting the patient
- Assisting the patient in transitioning to recovery
For mild cases, rest is the best medicine. Doctors may give pain medication for headaches.
If a brain injury is life-threatening, the patient will be admitted to a neurocritical care unit for around the clock monitoring. In the neurocritical care unit, their mental status and brain function will be monitored. Generally, these care units are only for comatose, paralyzed, or really severe cases.
Doctors will prescribe medicine for moderate to severe traumatic brain injury patients to control their:
- Sedation and pain
- Intracranial pressure.
Surgery may be necessary to repair bleeding vessels, relieve intracranial pressure, repair skull fractures, or remove hematomas. The most common surgical methods are:
- Craniotomy – removal of a section of the skull so that the surgeon can access the brain and repair any damage. Once the repair is done, the surgeon will put the bone flap back.
- Decompressive Craniectomy – a section of the skull is removed as above, but it is taken out for a few months to allow the brain to swell without pressure. The bone is kept in a freezer while the patient recovers and a piece of biologic tissue is put over the brain to prevent infection.
- Tracheotomy – if the patient is unable to breathe on their own, the surgeon may make a small incision in the neck so a breathing tube can be used. This only usually happens in severe traumatic brain injuries.
- Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tube – This is a long, fancy term for a feeding tube. In severe traumatic brain injuries, the patient may be unable to feed themselves or eat, or they may be comatose.
Rehabilitation For Traumatic Brain Injury Patients
Traumatic brain injuries can affect your life months or years after the accident; some of the effects may even be permanent. Rehabilitation is a crucial part of regaining some of the functions you may have lost. Depending on your injuries, you may have different needs, but generally, people will have one of the following therapies:
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Social support
- Psychiatric care
The program will be shaped around the needs of the patient and their injury. Some patients may even have to see all of the above therapists to help their recovery. Patients may heal quickly, or some may require life-long care.