Jason Stephens | April 5, 2021 | Brain Injuries
About 1.5 million people experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States annually. Most TBI injuries result from car accidents and fall mishaps. Although some brain injuries are classified as “mild,” others can be life-threatening.
If you or someone you love has experienced a traumatic brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer. You may be owed financial compensation for the damages that you have suffered.
In the following post, we will examine the effects of a concussion on the brain. We will also discuss typical signs and symptoms and steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic brain injury.
What is a Concussion?
The term “concussion” refers to a specific type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions usually result from a severe jolt or blow to the victim’s head. They may also result from impacts to the victim’s torso or other body parts.
Medically speaking, concussions are categorized as “mild” TBIs. Despite this categorization, concussions can result in severe symptoms or chronic pain.
Under normal circumstances, the brain is surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid within the skull. This fluid protects the brain from making contact with the surrounding skull bone.
But when someone suffers a blow to the head, the brain can move inside the skull. When this happens, the brain may make contact with the surrounding bone. This impact can result in a mild TBI. The most common cause of concussions is a falling accident.
What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
The symptoms associated with concussions vary from case to case. Different symptoms may appear depending on which component of the brain sustains damage. In most cases, it is rare for concussions to result in a victim losing consciousness.
Typical symptoms of concussions include:
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Vomiting and nausea
- Drowsiness, fatigue, and loss of energy
- Blurry vision
- Brain fog and loss of clarity
- Memory problems
- Sensitivity to sound and light
- Difficulty sleeping
Most of the symptoms of concussions will subside within three weeks of the initial event. If symptoms persist, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Prolonged symptoms from a concussion are associated with a condition known as post-concussion syndrome. Typically, a physician will diagnose post-concussion syndrome if the symptoms have persisted for more than three months.
Symptoms that can signal this condition include:
- Memory loss or problems
- Concentration issues
- Difficulty waking or falling asleep
- Anxiety and depression
- Personality shifts
- Sensitivity to light and sound
If you have experienced any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, contact a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Second Impact Syndrome
One possible complication following a concussion is known as second impact syndrome. When someone experiences a second concussion before the first one has healed, they may suffer second impact syndrome.
This is a very rare and highly serious condition. Second impact syndrome is marked by the rapid swelling of brain matter. Sadly, this syndrome almost always results in severe brain damage or death for the victim.
It is important to note that a victim does not have to suffer a blow to the head to experience a concussion or second impact syndrome. A significant blow or jolt to any part of the body can cause a concussion if the impact is forceful enough.
Athletes sometimes suffer from second impact syndrome because of the dangers inherent in their sports. Second impact syndrome does not always result in loss of consciousness. However, symptoms from this condition can worsen quickly.
Symptoms of second impact syndrome include dilated pupils, decreased eye movement, a loss of consciousness, and respiratory failure. As we mentioned above, this condition can result in significant brain damage, and in some cases, death.
If you suspect that someone is suffering from second impact syndrome, take them to the nearest emergency room immediately.
What to Do Following a Concussion
It is very important to take appropriate steps in the aftermath of a concussion. In fact, the first two days after the injury are the most crucial for protecting your brain and allowing healing to begin. If you have suffered a head injury and suspect a concussion, consider the following.
When to Sleep
It is a commonly believed myth that you should not sleep if you have had a concussion. Some people think that you should avoid sleep for a few days after your injury. This is a misconception. Actually, it can be very helpful to rest in the days following a mild TBI.
The most crucial time for responding to a concussion is the first three hours. During this time, the victim should not sleep and should seek emergency medical care if symptoms worsen. After a few hours, there is no reason to avoid sleep.
Avoid Demanding Activities
When you are recovering from a concussion, it is important that you don’t engage in any physically or mentally demanding activities. Speak with a qualified medical professional before you resume your normal daily routine. If any symptoms reappear, stop the activity that caused them and seek medical attention.
Delayed Response Time
One common symptom of a concussion is delayed response. Talk with your doctor before resuming activities that require a rapid response. These activities include operating a motor vehicle, bike riding, or using heavy machinery.
After suffering from a concussion, be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated is very important if you have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury. Proper hydration is useful in healing the meninges (the tissue covering the brain) and decreasing inflammation.
Pain Reliever Complications
You might be tempted to take pain-relieving medications after a TBI. However, certain types of pain relievers can cause problems. You should avoid taking pain relievers for the first 48 hours following the injury.
These medications may obscure the symptoms of your injury. Pain relievers can make it difficult to determine whether further medical care is necessary.
Securing Compensation After a Concussion
If you have suffered from a concussion because of another person’s negligent behavior, you may be owed financial compensation. Speak with an accomplished personal injury lawyer to pursue the financial recovery that you deserve.