Anderson Injury Lawyers | March 7, 2023 | Brain Injuries
Concussions are a type of brain injury that can occur due to a forceful blow to the head, a sudden jolt or impact, or any other kind of head trauma.
While many people may believe that concussions are minor injuries that can quickly resolve on their own, they can actually have severe and long-lasting consequences. In some cases, a concussion can even result in permanent brain injury.
Concussions occur whenever the brain is jarred or shaken inside the skull. This can cause damage to the many tissues and structures of the brain, similar to a bruise. In many cases, the body can heal from a concussion with rest and time, but in some instances, the damage can be severe enough to cause permanent injury.
Symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) can vary, but they often include:
- Vision problems
- Memory loss
- Sensitivity to light
Concussion symptoms may appear immediately after an accident or may take several hours or even days to develop (this is called a delayed concussion).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.5 million concussions are reported in the United States each year. However, many more cases go unreported, as people may not seek medical attention or realize they have suffered a concussion.
Concussions can occur in various situations, but the most common causes include falls, sports injuries, car accidents, and physical assaults.
Sports-related concussions are a particularly concerning issue, especially among young people. The CDC reports that around 283,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. visit emergency departments each year for sports- or recreation-related brain injuries, including concussions.
Football has the highest rate of reported concussions, but they can occur in any sport involving contact or the risk of falling, such as soccer, basketball, and gymnastics.
Permanent Brain Injuries and Concussions
Repeated concussions or a single severe concussion can lead to permanent brain damage. This is often called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease that slowly affects the brain.
CTE has been linked to repeated head injuries, including concussions, and it can cause a range of symptoms that may appear years or even decades after the initial injury. These symptoms can include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty thinking and reasoning
- Depression and anxiety
- Personality changes
- Suicidal thoughts
In some cases, the damage caused by CTE can lead to dementia and other life-altering conditions.
While it is not entirely clear why some people develop CTE after a concussion while others do not, CTE is thought to be related to the severity and frequency of the injuries, the age at which they occurred, and genetic factors.
Research into CTE and the long-term effects of concussions is ongoing, but there is currently no cure for this condition.
Brain hemorrhage is another complication related to concussions. Bleeding in the brain can cause permanent damage because it increases pressure inside the skull. When the bleeding goes untreated, it can result in symptoms such as paralysis, loss of speech, seizures, memory loss, and cognitive impairment.
Preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries
While most people will recover from a concussion with rest and time, it is vital to seek medical attention if you have suffered a head injury, especially if you experience any cognitive symptoms.
By taking steps to prevent head injuries, such as wearing protective gear during sports or driving safely on the roads, you can reduce the incidence of concussions and their long-term effects on the brain.