If you have ever experienced a concussion, you realize how frightening they can be. A concussion, by definition, is the least serious type of traumatic brain injury. While former athletes may jocularly remember the time they “got their bell rung,” the danger was probably more real than they can recall. A concussion occurs when the brain is jolted within the skull, often from a direct blow or impact, and the effects can be severe and long-lasting.
More Than Just Knocked Out
Many people, particularly youth sport coaches and parents, assume that a concussion is always accompanied by at least a momentary lapse of consciousness. While a concussion victim can certainly be knocked out by the blow or impact, the injury itself is often much more difficult to identify. In some cases, the onset of symptoms does not occur for hours or days following the impact. Whether occurring within the context of a sporting event, a car accident, or a trip and fall, the signs of a traumatic brain injury often include:
- Confusion and feeling dazed;
- Uncharacteristic clumsiness;
- Slurred speech or difficulty speaking;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Balance issues or dizziness;
- Enhanced sensitivity to light or noise;
- Sluggishness or marked drowsiness;
- Ringing in the ears;
- Unusual behavior or personality; and
- Concentration and memory difficulties.
The loss of consciousness so often considered a “typical” symptom of a concussion is actually a qualifying symptom of a grade 3 concussion, the most serious type.
Treating Concussive Injuries
Any time a concussion of any severity is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention. A grade 1 or 2 injury is often treated with periods of rest and recovery until the symptoms dissipate. When a grade 3 concussion has occurred, the treating doctor will generally conduct coordination and reflex tests, and may order advanced imaging, such as CT scans or MRIs, to ensure there is not internal bleeding or other serious injury.
Non-aspirin medications may be used to treat pain and discomfort, and the doctor is likely to require the concussion victim to refrain from strenuous activity. Precautions against future concussions are also necessary, as studies have shown that concussive injuries have a cumulative effect on the brain, making each one more dangerous than the last. Repeated injuries can lead to swelling of the brain, permanent brain damage and disabilities, and, in some cases, death.
Legal Help for Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, including a serious concussion, as the result of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to collect damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact an experienced Wheaton personal injury attorney at Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered to schedule your free consultation. We will review your case and help you explore every avenue of available recovery. Call 630-462-1980 for an appointment.