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What is a “hidden” TBI?

Following a serious collision or devastating fall from height, many individuals struggle with symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Depending on countless factors including the severity of the accident or the individual’s past medical history, a TBI can lead to cognitive impairment, communication challenges and memory problems. Additionally, the injury can result in physical symptoms such as chronic headaches, trouble sleeping and blurred vision. Unfortunately, their status as a hidden injury often leads to diagnostic challenges.

How is the injury hidden?

Many people assume that the use of the word hidden implies that the injury is invisible to diagnosticians. While trouble reaching a clinical diagnosis could be a contributing factor, other elements are often to blame, including:

  • Late-onset symptoms: It is not uncommon for TBI symptoms to remain dormant or hidden from view for days or weeks after the collision. As such, medical professionals often reach a diagnosis before all the relevant symptoms are detectable.
  • Unique symptoms for every case: Part of the challenge in diagnosing a TBI is that every person and each case is completely unique. Two individuals can experience vehicle collisions under the same speeds and factors and still suffer dramatically different symptoms.

When factors such as these obscure the relationship between the initial accident and the resulting injury, the TBI is often considered hidden. In these situations, the link between the injury and what caused it is hidden, not the symptoms of the injury itself.

Individuals who have experienced impact that damages either the structure or the function of the brain must seek medical care at once. In the days or weeks following a serious collision, it is crucial that people discuss new or worsening symptoms with their chosen medical professional. TBI symptoms can often grow in intensity making it a challenge for sufferers to maintain gainful employment or personal relationships. In no uncertain terms, these injuries can be life altering.