If you are an avid motorcyclist, you know the importance of wearing a helmet while you ride. Even if you’ve ridden without one in the past, you know that protective headgear can protect not only your well-being, but protect your family from suffering severe losses if you are injured.
Safety helmets have come a long way, but they still cannot prevent accidents from happening—or prevent a motorcyclist’s head from making contact with the road. While helmets are excellent at preventing skull fractures, they cannot fully protect against closed head injuries—which are likely to prove fatal without immediate treatment.
What Is a Closed Head Injury?
A closed head injury is the term used for any head injury that causes damage to the brain without damaging the skull. The most common types of closed head injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents include:
- Contusions – A contusion is the technical name for a bruise on the brain. A contusion often causes the brain to swell, which can have fatal consequences if not treated quickly.
- Hematoma – If the brain begins to bleed but the skull remains intact, blood may build up underneath the skull and place pressure on the brain. An untreated hematoma will often cause confusion, fatigue, or loss of consciousness. The victim may develop a blood clot if the injury progresses, increasing the risk of a stroke.
- Hemorrhage – Uncontrolled bleeding can cause a number of complications for the victim. In addition to increasing intracranial pressure that can damage brain tissue, victims may suffer neurological damage or seizures if his or her blood mixes with the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid.
- Diffuse axonal injury – These injuries occur not from traumatic impact, but from rapid acceleration and deceleration of the victim’s head—the sudden stop as the motorcyclist is thrown from his bike. DAI usually results in severe loss of brain function, including paralysis, a permanent vegetative state, or prolonged coma.
If someone you love is recuperating from a traumatic head injury after a motorcycle accident, you can help him heal by staying informed. Click the link on this page to begin reading our Brain Injury Survivor's Guide, a free e-book to help victims and their families get their lives back on track after a brain injury.