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Around 1.5 million individuals in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury each year, many of those injuries are concussions incurred in motor vehicle accidents, falls, violence, and sports or recreation-related activities. A concussion is commonly referred to as “mild” traumatic brain injury.
For many people, however, the injury is anything but mild, resulting in chronic headaches and long-lasting symptoms, such as dizziness and memory loss. If you or your child has suffered a concussion, read on for more information about what this type of injury does to the brain.
A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury, which is damage to the brain that is generally caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head or body. While considered a mild brain injury for which doctors most often prescribe rest, there is nothing mild about any brain injury, as injuries to the brain often result in permanent deficits and chronic pain. The thick, bony protection of the skull and the cerebrospinal fluid cushion the brain from everyday bumps and jolts.
A traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, results when the protective capabilities of the skull and cerebrospinal fluid fail to protect the brain from sharply striking the skull. Falls are the most common cause of concussions.
Other common causes of concussions include:
The symptoms of a concussion can vary widely, depending on the area of the brain that sustains the injury. Concussions rarely result in a loss of consciousness, or generally for only a brief time.
Symptoms of a concussion commonly include:
Most individuals will experience concussion symptoms that resolve within one to three weeks if the injured individual complies with physician instructions that generally include:
There is no scientific evidence indicating that most people who suffer a simple concussion and are not athletes can expect long term consequences of the injury, provided they allow the brain to fully heal before resuming high-impact activities such as sports competitions, exercise, or physical work. However, approximately 20 percent of individuals who suffer a concussion experience lingering symptoms of the injury past the expected recovery period of three weeks.
Failure to let the brain rest and recover adequately can give rise to health concerns including post-concussion syndrome, secondary impact syndrome, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
Post-concussion syndrome refers to symptoms of a concussion that linger after the expected recovery period of one to three weeks.
The diagnosis is generally made if at least one of the following symptoms is present three months after sustaining the initial injury:
It is not currently known exactly why some people suffer post-concussion syndrome, though it has been proven that the severity of the initial injury is not an indicator of who will acquire the condition. However, there do seem to be some conditions that increase one’s risks of suffering this complication after incurring a concussion.
Those who are most likely to experience post-concussion syndrome include:
Second impact syndrome is the rapid swelling of the brain that is caused when an individual suffers a second concussion before the symptoms of the first concussion have subsided. While this condition is rare, it almost always results in severe brain damage or even death within minutes as the brain suddenly loses its ability to regulate cerebrospinal fluid pressure. A softer blow can precipitate the second concussion and trigger second impact syndrome. It needn’t strike the head directly, just any body part that causes a sudden movement of the head or neck.
Athletes often experience second impact syndrome. When the second impact occurs, the individual may not even lose consciousness, and can often even complete the play before collapsing on the sideline. The condition generally worsens rapidly at that point, including loss of consciousness, loss of eye movement, dilated pupils, and even respiratory failure.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), also known as dementia pugilistica, is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects individuals who have suffered repeated concussions or traumatic brain injuries. The condition most commonly affects athletes and military members who have suffered repeated concussions from combat-related service or training.
In this condition, ongoing brain damage actually results in a loss of brain mass.
CTE symptoms include:
Until recently, CTE was only diagnosable through post-mortem testing for the presence of tau protein in the brain. However, modern diagnostic tests have led to better diagnosing of the early symptoms of CTE in living patients.
Concussions involve damage to the brain. In some circumstances, this damage can worsen after the injury, resulting in potentially fatal bleeding on the brain.
If you or your loved one experiences any of the following symptoms after suffering a concussion, you should seek emergency medical treatment immediately:
If you have received a concussion, the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury is the most important time to protect your brain and begin healing.
Here are some suggestions for ensuring that this acute period after the injury aid in healing instead of standing in the way of your recovery:
Concussions are serious injuries that can result in life-altering or even fatal complications. If you or your loved one incurred a concussion from someone else’s careless or reckless actions, you can pursue compensation related to your injury through a traumatic brain injury lawsuit. This is a legal claim filed in civil court that seeks to prove who is legally responsible for your injury as well as to show the out-of-pocket expenses and quality-of-life impacts you have experienced as a result of your injury.
If you’ve sustained a concussion due to someone else’s negligent actions, you should contact an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney to handle your claim. Most traumatic brain injury attorneys offer free consultations, during which you can discuss the details of your injury and determine your eligibility to seek compensation for your damages. For a free case review, contact an experienced attorney online today.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
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San Diego, Ca 92101
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