When your loved one is in a car accident, the only thing that matters to you is that they are okay. You might bring them ice packs for their sore joints, or a heating pad for their bruises. But do you know how to spot injuries that are not so obvious?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one serious injury to look out for. TBIs are caused by blunt trauma to the head – which often happens during car crashes. They range from mild to severe, and can result in impairments that last from days to years.

Signs of a TBI can be mental or physical. Symptoms are sometimes subtle, and may appear instantly or in the days or weeks after the accident. It is critical that you recognize the signs of a potential TBI in your loved one so they can get the medical attention they might need.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms might be the easiest for you to spot. Some of these may include:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Nausea and puking
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of consciousness or hard to wake up
  • Seizures

Sensory symptoms

Sensory symptoms may not be as obvious to you. However, your loved one may complain if they are experiencing one of the following:

  • Blurry or double vision
  • Muffled hearing or ringing in ears
  • Lack of taste or bad taste in mouth
  • Decreased sense of smell

Mental symptoms

Mental symptoms can sometimes appear a little later than physical and sensory. They may be more difficult to detect, as some may align with natural feelings that come with recovery. But they are still worth noting if they seem out of the usual:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Difficulty remembering or concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Agitation

If you recognize any of these signs in your loved one, you should encourage them to seek medical attention right away. A doctor can give a proper diagnosis and provide them with the treatment they need.