Parents: What to expect as your child recovers from brain trauma

Your child was heading back to college when you got a call that is a parent's worst nightmare: They were involved in a serious collision hundreds of miles from home.

Now, you've spent hours on the road, made it to your destination and see that your child is in pretty bad shape. The doctors have warned you that they have a brain injury, and that injury could shape their future.

Brain injuries are some of the worst that you can suffer. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could be permanently disabled and suffering from the wounds. You don't want that for your child, but it's largely out of your hands. What you can control is the kind of medical care they receive and the support they have as they recover.

What are the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries?

Both before and after the stabilization of the injury, your child may struggle with some or all of these symptoms:

  • Double vision
  • Irritability
  • Emotional problems
  • Speech and communication problems
  • Personality changes
  • Trouble with planning or organization
  • Fatigue
  • Memory issues
  • Headaches
  • Depression

There may be many other physical and psychological symptoms as well.

Will a brain injury always result in permanent issues?

No, brain injuries don't always have to result in permanent issues. For example, most people who suffer from minor head injuries are generally going to fully recover. On the other hand, someone who has an acute traumatic brain injury may not fully recover. Everyone is different, though, so some who suffer shockingly serious injuries have fully recovered, while others with moderate injuries still have symptoms that remain. It's a case-by-case situation.

What should you expect during recovery?

During recovery, it's normal to see some headaches, dizziness, confusion and vomiting. Your child might be tired or fatigued more easily than usual. They could be disoriented, too.

Generally, these symptoms start to disappear within a few weeks or months. However, depending on the number of nerve cells that were damaged, some symptoms may remain permanently.

Your child may need to go through many kinds of medical treatment for the most successful recovery. This may include occupational therapy, physical therapy, taking specific medications, surgery or other treatments.

You need to make sure that you hold the responsible party liable for the injuries that they caused. If your child will suffer from this injury for years to come, then the other party should be the one covering those costs.

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