Car Accidents and Concussions
It is now well known that concussions can occur in a sports environment, with high incidences reported in football, hockey, soccer, etc. However, athletes are not the only people that can be affected by this brain injury.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters cerebral function. This type of injury can be the result of a direct or an indirect impact to the head, resulting in a rapid movement of the skull-brain complex. When it comes to car accidents, every collision that creates a sudden movement/jerk of the head or neck, big or small, can result in a concussion.
For example, during a rear-end vehicle collision, the head rapidly moves from back to front, creating a potential cervical (neck) injury. This 'whiplash' can also lead to a concussion (indirect impact to the head). Furthermore, direct impacts to the head with airbags, the steering wheel, the window or any other object in the vehicle, can also result in a concussion.
It is important to note that the signs and symptoms of a concussion can appear up to 48-72h after an impact. Therefore, a concussion can at times go undetected if a clinical or hospital assessment is completed in the initial hours following a motor vehicle accident.
The symptoms of a concussion can include:
- Sensitivity to noise/light
- Visual disturbances (blurred vision)
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
- Balance problems
For the complete list of signs and symptoms as well as additional information regarding concussion management and treatment, please click on the following link: Concussions - Symptoms and Treatment.
For more information regarding the steps to follow with the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), please click on the following link: In the event of a traffic accident.
After having sustained a concussion, it is important to complete an initial 48-hour rest period. A progressive reintegration to activities (daily living, cognitive, physical) is also essential to favour an optimal return to your activities.
A concussion is a complex injury, therefore an interdisciplinary approach to treatment with an experienced team of healthcare professionals (physicians, athletic therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, massage therapists, osteopaths, etc) can favour optimal recovery and symptom resolution. For more information regarding the different healthcare professionals that can be consulted following a concussion, read the following article: 'A physician?...A physiotherapist?...A kinesiologist?...Who should you consult if you suffer from a concussion?'
For more information or to book an appointment:
Durbin, D. R., Kallan, M., Elliott, M., Cornejo, R. A., Arbogast, K. B., & Winston, F. K. (2003). Risk of injury to restrained children from passenger air bags. Traffic injury prevention, 4(1), 58-63.
Viano, D. C., & Parenteau, C. S. (2015). Concussion, diffuse axonal injury, and AIS4+ head injury in motor vehicle crashes. Traffic injury prevention, 16(8), 747-753.