Car accidents can lead to devastating and catastrophic injuries. Among these injuries include traumatic brain injuries or TBIs. If you have a loved one who suffered from a TBI, his or her recovery may seem uncertain.

According to MSKTC, the recovery process may look different for all patients, but may also include a similar pattern of stages.

Early stages of recovery

After the first few weeks that follow a moderate to severe injury, the brain experiences bleeding, swelling and even changes to the chemistry. A person may not show any awareness at first, but over time, brain function may improve. The stages include:

  • Coma
  • Vegetative state
  • Minimally conscious state

In a coma state, a person is unconscious and does not respond to any stimulation. Vegetative states are unresponsive wakeful states and a minimally conscious state includes when a person is partially conscious. When partially conscious a person may be aware of where the sounds and other stimulation are coming from. They may even recognize objects and follow commands. Still, they may be inconsistent with responses.

Length of time for recovery

When it comes to recovery, most patients see the most drastic improvements within the first six months following the injury. During this time, if you have a loved one who suffered a TBI, he or she may begin to move or think better. Over a length of time, the amount of recovery at once will slow down. TBIs can impact a patient for years following the injury, if not for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, brain scans cannot determine the extent of the injury or the length of recovery.