An accident that causes a concussion can only take a second. A head injury of any kind can be serious, especially if it is not properly treated. You may appear to look and act the same, but there may be damage on the inside that affects your ability to think and focus clearly.
That is where our team of practiced concussion attorneys can help. We can help fight for the compensation you deserve.
- What is a Concussion?
- Common Causes
- Signs and Symptoms
- Recovery Time
- Other Types
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) that affects brain function. Concussions are caused when an external force strikes the head, or when the skull and brain shake back and forth rapidly. Concussions can happen even after a minor bump or ding to the head.
Some concussions may involve unconsciousness, but not always. Typically, concussions are not life-threatening, although serious symptoms can occur. Any concussion, or suspicion of concussion, should be approached with care and involve seeking medical treatment.
Common Causes of Concussions
Concussions are most likely to happen during a:
- Motor vehicle accident – car makers are constantly improving the design of their vehicles to make them safer, including minimizing the incidence of head injuries during a collision. Still, a severe accident or not using a safety belt during a minor accident are situations that put individuals at high risk for a concussion.
- Trip and fall – even a stumble while on your own feet can lead to a concussion, if your head hits the ground or another hard object on your way down. The elderly and younger children are at particular risk for a trip and fall that ends in a mild traumatic brain injury.
- Recreational or sports event – most of us engage in recreational or sports activities, whether regularly or just on occasion. It is a great way to stay active and healthy. The down side is that activities, especially high-contact sports, can lead to bumps on the head during practice or competition. Some sports that have higher-than-average concussion rates are: football, soccer, lacrosse, boxing, ice hockey, rugby, and bicycling.
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Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
During a head trauma that causes a concussion, the brain moves out of its normal positioning for a brief period of time. This movement disrupts the routine electrical activities of the brain, triggering concussion symptoms, such as:
- Problems with balance or coordination
- Memory problems
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling sluggish or groggy
- Behavior changes
- Insomnia or other sleep problems
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Ringing in the ears
- Nausea or vomiting
It’s important to keep in mind that signs of a concussion might show up days or weeks after the accident. If you or someone you love has experienced a bump to the head, or a blow to the body that has rattled the head, please stay vigilant for any of the above concussion signs.
Classifications of Concussions
The symptoms of a concussion will depend on how severely the head was struck or rattled. The severity of a concussion is classified by grade:
Grade 1 (mild concussion)
Grade 1 concussions are characterized by brief memory loss, confusion, headache, dizziness, nausea, but no loss of consciousness. Symptoms usually last less than an hour, but can linger for days. Most commonly, grade 1 concussions occur in minor car accidents, athletic events, or at-home mishaps.
Grade 2 (moderate concussion)
Signs of a grade 2 concussion are similar to grade 1 symptoms, although symptoms typically last from a half an hour to an entire day. Some medical experts argue that grade 2 concussions can include lost consciousness for several minutes.
Grade 3 (severe concussion)
A grade 3 concussion is characterized by unconsciousness and the lasting presence of concussion symptoms. In serious cases, victims may experience amnesia, and can have difficulty with language. Professional treatment and observation are required since this grade of concussion can be a sign of mild brain damage.
Simple vs. Complex
In 2004, a group of professionals attending the Second International Conference on Concussion in Sports in Prague, introduced the categorization system of simple vs. complex concussions. A simple concussion was deemed to last less than 10 days, while complex concussions were characterized by at least 10 days of severe concussion symptoms, such as cognitive impairment or concussive convulsions.
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After suffering a concussion, be sure to seek medical attention right away. During the first 24 hours, you should have a loved one monitor your condition. In general, rest is the best treatment for a concussion, even after symptoms have disappeared. If symptoms persist after you have received medical care, be sure to contact your healthcare provider. Be persistent. You may want to reach out to a medical professional who specializes in treating concussions. Also, do not return to any activities that might put you at risk for another concussion until cleared by your doctor.
Concussion Recovery Time
The severity of your concussion will determine how long it takes to be symptom-free and feeling back to normal. You can speed up the recovery process by cutting back on your cognitive load. This basically means doing as little thinking as you can. Try to reduce or entirely cut-out reading, texting, playing on the computer, or even watching TV. The more mental rest you get at the beginning, the faster you can return to your everyday life.
Short term concussions last several hours to a few weeks. Symptoms can appear immediately after the accident, or can show up days or weeks later.
People who experience concussion symptoms more than several weeks after their accident typically have had multiple concussions. There can be a compounding effect with consecutive concussions, especially if the individual has not fully recovered from one concussion before experiencing another. This is another reason why it is so important to properly heal from a concussion and follow your doctor’s advice.
Some long-term symptoms that can last months or years include:
- Problems with long-term memory
- Slowing of certain body movements
- Emotional distress
Other Types of Concussions
Post-concussion syndrome is a disorder that is characterized by symptoms that last for weeks or months. The risk of getting this syndrome is not necessarily connected with the severity of the initial injury. For most post-concussion syndrome victims, symptoms show up within the first week. Usually they will subside within three months, although symptoms can persist for a year or more.
Second Impact Syndrome
This is a rare condition that occurs when an individual sustains a concussion before a previous concussion has properly healed. The syndrome involves rapid and severe brain swelling that can have serious and even life-threatening results.
Our Attorneys Specialize in Brain Injuries
Our lawyers have extensive experience in going after people who are responsible for an accident that causes a concussion. We can hold the at-fault party accountable and get you the compensation you need to move on with your life.