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What Is a Concussion?

by John Gomez | Last Updated: January 3, 2020

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury — or TBI — caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also be caused from a fall or when the body is struck in such a way that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells. While doctors classify a concussion as a mild traumatic brain injury, don’t let the term mild fool you. “Mild” refers only to the characteristics of the acute nature – i.e. immediate aftermath – of the injury, not the long-term impact or symptoms it may cause. Concussions are serious injuries, and potentially life-threatening. If you have already been diagnosed with a brain injury after a traumatic car accident then contact the brain injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys to discuss your options for a potential settlement.

Symptoms of a Concussion

If you have a concussion, you should always seek medical care. According to Healthline, symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Having problems with remembering things.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Feeling dizzy.
  • Other cognitive issues, such as having trouble staying on task, becoming overstimulated, you get distracted easily, you can’t seem to follow instructions, you feel disoriented or you seem to have a hard time understanding concepts people are discussing.
  • Seeing double or having blurred vision.
  • You might have slurred speech or trouble finding the right word.
  • Your sense of taste might be affected in some cases.
  • Having a headache that won’t go away. The headache could be constant or it could come and go.
  • Feeling sluggish or drowsy.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Having a hard time balancing. Your coordination may also suffer. Some motor functions might be affected, such as grabbing things, holding onto things, walking in a straight line, etc.
  • Light or noise bothers you.
  • Your reaction time is slower than normal.
  • You seem to be irritable.
  • You might have seizures.
  • You might have clear fluid or blood drain from your nose or ears.
  • Your eyes may not move properly and/or your pupils may not be equal in size; and/or
  • You might lose consciousness.

The list above is not exhaustive. Just like people, are concussions are different and may present different. Likewise, symptoms of a concussion do not always show up immediately. In some cases, symptoms could show up hours, days, or even weeks later.

If you are parent and suspect your child has a concussion, you might want to look for other signs, especially if the child cannot or will not tell you how he or she is feeling. If you notice any of the above-listed symptoms, or if your child exhibits crankiness, cries excessively, loses interest in favorite toys, or shows a change in his or her sleeping and eating patterns, you should get your child checked out as soon as possible. Often times when a child has experienced a concussion, they will report feeling “not right,” “off” or “weird.”

Recovering From a Concussion

Recovery from concussions varies from person to person. Some recover quickly in days or weeks, while others may take months or even longer. Certain factors may delay recovery, such as a history of prior concussions, pre-existing neurological or other mental deficits, learning disabilities, or even social stressors. Regardless of what your situation might be, it is essential to follow your doctor’s orders when recovering from a concussion. If you have a child who suffered from a concussion, you should get a concussion recovery schedule from your pediatrician so that you know what activities to monitor. Adults should also adhere to a similar schedule.

Even if you begin to feel better, consult with your doctor before making any changes to your recovery plan or activities. If you try to do too much during the recovery process, you could suffer another concussion.

During the time after a concussion, you should rest for at least a few days. Most people think of limiting physical activities when they hear rest. However, that also includes limiting cognitive activities and making sure you get plenty of sleep. Try to stay away from bright lights, loud noises or music, and electronic device screens (computers, cell phones, televisions) as these items often trigger increased symptoms.

During the weeks after a concussion, keep your activity limited to light activity. Don’t do too much at one time. Slowly work your way up to more strenuous activity. Once the symptoms disappear, keep an eye out for symptoms to reappear and keep activities on a moderate level. Once a doctor has cleared you and none of the concussion symptoms reappear, and no new symptoms show up, then you can return to regular activity.

Post-concussion Syndrome

In some cases, concussion symptoms may last for many months, which may be diagnosed as “post-concussion syndrome.” Chronic presence of some or all of the below symptoms after a concussion may indicate the diagnosis:

  • Headache;
  • Fatigue;
  • Dizziness;
  • Impaired memory;
  • Irritability;
  • Insomnia;
  • The inability to concentrate; and
  • You are bothered by light and noise.

If you are experiencing these chronic symptoms or others, make sure you see a doctor to help determine whether you suffer from post-concussion syndrome.

Document Your Symptoms

If you are filing a lawsuit because you suffered a concussion at the hands of another person or company, always document your symptoms. Make sure you get copies of medical records. Because concussion symptoms could last longer than a few weeks or may not show up for several weeks, it is imperative to have documentation of how you feel as you are recovering. Often times concussion survivors begin to adapt to their symptoms or what they refer to as their “new normal” – keeping track of what you are experiencing as it happens will help paint a better picture of what is actually going on inside your brain.

Not only does this documentation help your traumatic brain injury attorney help determine whether you might be entitled to more compensation, but it also helps your doctor determine what type and how much additional care you might need.

Additionally, some people, most notably athletes who suffer more than one concussion, develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) later in life. What it is CTE? While symptoms may appear years after you suffer from a concussion, only an autopsy can conclusively diagnose CTE. However, with documentation of your symptoms, progress and medical history, they may be better able to consider the potential diagnosis of CTE.

How a Brain Injury Lawyer Can Help and Information They Need From You

Whether you have had one concussion or many as a result of the wrongdoing of someone else, a brain injury attorney can help. An experienced brain injury attorney will work with you to understand your injury, assist in finding the appropriate medical treatment for you, and may help you seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Kacie Wagner
When you discuss your traumatic brain injury case with your attorney, always tell the lawyer about any previous concussions or head injuries you have had, whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions, or other notable incidents or conditions in your life. This will help your attorney better understand you and your injury. However, it may also help explain why you are experiencing the nature or severity of symptoms from your current concussion, assist your doctor in finding the best treatment for you, and develop a prognosis for you that may ultimately increase the compensation you are entitled to.

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