Concussions

Concussions are defined as a brain injury that causes the brain to not function properly. This can be caused by a blow to the head, a fall, a car accident, violently shaking of the head, or many other accidents. Concussions are common for people who participate in contact sports, such as football or basketball. Concussions can be very scary for everyone involved; however, people may experience a concussion and not know it. Individuals can sometimes black out, but it is not very common for the victim to lose consciousness. Concussions are the most common brain injury.

Symptoms of a Concussion

Symptoms of a concussion may not be very clear or happen all at once; however, concussions are taken very seriously and should heal properly before returning to the sport or activity wherein the injury occurred. Here are some symptoms to look for if you have experienced a blow to the head or body that may have caused a concussion:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
  • Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue

The signs in a child may differ slightly or be harder to interpret because the child may not be able to explain how they are feeling. Here are some non-verbal cues to help you determine if the child has experienced a concussion:

  • Listlessness, tiring easily
  • Irritability, crankiness
  • Change in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys
  • Loss of balance, unsteady walking

If anyone is still experiencing any of these symptoms after one to two days after the injury, seek medical attention. If a child is experiencing any of the following symptoms after the injury, immediately seek medical assistance:

  • Vomiting
  • A headache that gets worse over time
  • Changes in his or her behavior, including irritability or fussiness
  • Changes in physical coordination, including stumbling or clumsiness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Slurred speech or other changes in speech
  • Vision or eye disturbances, including pupils that are bigger than normal (dilated pupils) or pupils of unequal sizes
  • Changes in breathing pattern
  • Lasting or recurrent dizziness
  • Blood or fluid discharge from the nose or ears
  • Large head bumps or bruises on areas other than the forehead, especially in infants under 12 months of age

Complications from Concussions

People who have experienced a severe concussion could potentially have complications from the injury. These could include:

  • Epilepsy: Individuals who have had a concussion double their risk of developing epilepsy within the first five years after the injury.
  • Cumulative effects of multiple brain injuries. It has been shown that people who have had multiple concussive brain injuries throughout their lifetime could have lasting, and even progressive, cognitive impairment that limits functional ability.
  • Second Impact Syndrome (SIS): This normally occurs after a person suffers a second concussion and before symptoms from an earlier concussion have subsided. Many times when second impact syndrome occurs it is considered very extreme with a high rate of mortality or disability.

Treatment of Concussions

As mentioned, people who are experiencing symptoms of a concussion should not return to the vigorous activity in which the injury occured until symptoms are no longer present. Rest is the best way to allow the brain to heal from a concussion. In Utah, different school districts have created rules to force coaches to give their athletes the time they need off the field to prevent SIS or further damage to the brain. For children, it is recommended to rest physically and mentally. Parents should not allow them to perform any activity that would require mental concentration or physical exertion. The main point is to rest and give the brain the time it needs to return to normal functioning activity. If you have been have experienced a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, Christensen & Hymas are able to help you. Call (801)506-0800 for a free consultation today. Our competent lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Image “Concussion Anatomy” copyright by Max Andrews.

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