In times of stress, it can be hard to concentrate, and easy to overlook a few necessary details that can help your case. Even if you haven’t been involved in an accident, take advantage of these smart tips.

1. Go to the ER and make sure you give accurate and complete information to the doctors.

Giving complete information to your physicians can be challenging if you’ve been injured. It may help to get details from people who where around you and know you, well.

  • Were you knocked unconscious? If so, for how long?
  • Do you remember the events that happened before the injury?
  • Are you having trouble remembering the events that happened after the injury?

Many people lose details such as getting to the hospital, talking to friends and family. If you can remember, share as much as you can. If you can’t remember or you’re conscious of gaps in your memory, be sure to share that detail with your ER team. Do you have any physical problems such as dizziness, headache, ringing in the ears, light sensitivity? These are all important details that can help determine the extent of your brain injury.

2. Use extra care if you are at higher risk for brain injury.

Young children and older adults are at higher risk for long term problems from a concussion. People, especially athletes, who have had previous concussions are at higher risk of long term problems. People who are on blood thinners should seek prompt attention after ANY blow to the head.

3. Get educated on the long term problems which can be a result of a traumatic brain injury.

Ironically, many TBI victims lose the ability to see changes in their personality, sleep habits and memory. It can be helpful to rely on input from friends and family if you detect any issues. Additionally, it may help to keep a journal and have a trusted family member evaluate your symptoms in a separate diary.

4. Ask your family and close to friends to stay alert to persistent problems.

Share the results of your education with your family and friends and ask them to let you know if they notice any symptoms. Be conscious of even small things that seem off. A conversation or a memory that feels foggy, a process that feels less sure, lapses in understanding.

5. Get good follow up medical care for persistent problems.

Ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist. The CDC recommends neuropsychological testing to assess learning and memory skills, the ability to pay attention or concentrate, and to determine how quickly you can think and solve problems. In addition, specialized scans are available from leading specialists in the field.