Diagnosing a concussion goes beyond simply knowing how hard you hit your head. There are a number of mental changes that you’ll experience and that should be assessed by a professional in order to determine the extent of the trauma.
1. You think something doesn’t feel right.
You may feel that you just seem a bit out of it. Or, maybe your head feels stuffy or cloudy. You may feel similar to when you’ve taken too much Benadryl or Sudafed and it makes you groggy.
2. You have a blank look on your face.
You may feel even more out of it than simply feeling fuzzy. If you’re staring blankly, or you seem to be confused and in a daze, it could mean that you have a concussion.
3. People who know you think something is wrong.
You may not realize you’re acting strange after hitting your head, but the people who know you best may notice that something is different. Neurological symptoms can occur after head trauma, and they may be apparent during your social interactions. For example, if you stand up and look a bit off balance, you may not notice it, but your parent might. You may also be slurring your speech as you talk or be having trouble with coordination.
4. You’re throwing up.
When you hit your head, a common side effect is nausea. The reason for this is because head trauma can disrupt your inner ear and make you feel off balance, which can lead to nausea. Or, the trauma can make you feel emotional, which can also contribute to nausea. However, serious head trauma can cause extra vomiting. If you find yourself getting sick repeatedly, get to your doctor for an evaluation.
5. Your personality seems to have changed.
Head trauma can make it difficult to process information as quickly as normal. This could lead to you not being as sharp as you normally are. Maybe you can’t carry on a conversation or you’re not able to discuss something that happened earlier in the day. You may also have difficulty answering questions or even processing what someone just asked you. Other personality changes to watch out for include having difficulty recognizing people you’re familiar with; acting extra silly; and feeling agitated.
6. You lost consciousness when you hit your head.
If you hit your head so hard that you lost consciousness, it’s necessary to get to a hospital as quickly as possible. Find out if anyone in the area saw what happened – your memory of the event may not be reliable. Also, some people think that they were knocked out an unconscious when they actually were awake and carrying on interactions with people. This is a type of amnesia.
7. You notice symptoms immediately.
If you have a concussion, chances are good that you’ll start to notice symptoms right away. Delayed symptoms may point to another type of trauma, injury or illness, like a neck injury or a blood clot.
8. Your symptoms are getting worse.
Head trauma, whether from an auto accident or something else, may trigger certain symptoms, like confusion, irritability or headache. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have a serious injury. However, if your symptoms aren’t improving or they’re getting worse, especially if you’ve gotten some rest, it could be a serious problem.
9. You’re having trouble with coordination.
You may notice that you’re dropping things or misjudging your steps. If you feel like you can’t get your feet under you or you’re acting clumsy, it could be because of a more serious head trauma. This is why it’s so important to visit a doctor before driving again after an auto accident that resulted in head trauma.
10. You’re slurring your speech.
Slurred speech may be hard to spot on your own. Your speech may sound perfectly normal to you, when you’re actually slurring. Try to carry on a conversation with someone who knows you well and who will be able to tell if you sound different than normal.
If you’ve been in an auto accident, it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible. Treating head trauma following a car accident can prevent the problem from getting more serious and debilitating. After seeking medical help, your next step should be to contact a personal injury attorney.