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What is a coup contrecoup brain injury, and how does it occur?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are among the most serious types of personal injuries residents of Massachusetts can experience. A coup contrecoup is one type of brain injury. Usually, they develop after a severe car accident that results in impact to opposite ends of the brain.

Coup contrecoup brain injury explained

A coup contrecoup brain injury is usually caused by rear-end car crashes and rollover accidents. There is an initial injury site known as the “coup” and a subsequent injury that occurs on the opposite side of the initial injury site, the “contrecoup.” Usually, the victim is struck and hits their head upon the impact of the car accident. Afterward, their head whips back or sideways and a second injury occurs directly behind the first one as the brain shifts violently inside the skull, hitting against it.

Symptoms of coup contrecoup brain injuries

Depending on the part of the brain affected by a coup contrecoup brain injury, a person can experience different symptoms. Frontal lobe damage can result in memory loss, poor judgment, impulsivity, behavioral and personality changes and language problems.

If the parietal lobe is affected by the injury, common symptoms include coordination problems, difficulty perceiving pain, reading, writing and math problems, temperature difficulties and loss of direction. The parietal lobe is located behind the frontal lobe and is mostly responsible for sensory function.

Damage to the occipital lobe, which is at the back of the brain, can result in partial blindness, peripheral vision trouble, vision recognition and attention issues, visual hallucinations and word blindness. This part of the brain is responsible for visual function.

The temporal lobe is in the middle of the brain and is responsible for auditory function, smell and sight. If it suffers damage from a coup contrecoup injury, symptoms can include memory loss, hearing loss, attention issues, trouble understanding spoken language and recognition problems.

Like all brain injuries, coup contrecoup is serious and often life-changing.