The science of brain function is very much a field subject to change, with new findings frequently appearing in the news and new theories advanced to explain how the brain works and how it responds to physical injuries. Concussions are generally defined as traumatic brain injuries caused by blows to the head or violent shaking; they display a wide range of symptoms and effects which vary from permanent disability to simple, barely perceptible discomfort.
It’s not always apparent that a traumatic injury has taken place. Staying awake and alert after a collision of blow to the head does not mean you’ve avoided a concussion. The effects may pass within a few minutes or hours, or return periodically over several days or a week. Common symptoms of concussion include headaches and/or dizziness, a loss of consciousness, and a loss of memory. Many concussion sufferers find themselves unable to recall the fall or collision that caused the injury in the first place. If there is a loss of consciousness, it may last several minutes and be followed by mental confusion, a sensation of pressure in the skull, dizziness, strange optical effects and ringing in the ears.
More serious symptoms of concussion include vomiting, slurred speech and an inability to answer simple logic or math questions. These and other symptoms can be temporary but last for days or weeks. In serious cases delayed symptoms may include changes to personality, including increased irritability, an inability to concentrate, a loss of short-term memory, a sense of constant fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and high sensitivity to sudden noises or bright lights, or sunlight. Children, who may be less able to describe their symptoms, may lose appetite, cry more frequently, neglect their toys and appear tired and listless.
Even when an individual appears to recover quickly from a fall or blow to the head, it’s advisable to seek medical attention and undergo monitoring. Recovery time varies but averages several days to a week or longer for a mild concussion event; multiple concussions may extend this to months. Long-term, a concussion can bring persistent headaches, occasional losses of consciousness, bouts of dizziness and confusion frequent vomiting, irritability, problems with normal physical activities such as walking or biking, and changes in speech, coordination, memory and balance.
A severe concussion can bring about permanent changes in brain function. Research has shown that an individual who suffers a concussion doubles his risk of developing a seizure disorder within five years. In addition, multiple concussions–the danger for those who play heavy-contact sports such as hockey, boxing or football–have been known to bring about post-concussion syndrome, in which brain function is impaired and the damage to the brain is irreversible. The danger is multiplied if a second concussion is suffered before the brain has had time to recover from the first one. Medical science now recognizes second impact syndrome or SIS as a real danger and one that can cause potentially fatal swelling of the brain. For this reason, athletes are strongly advised, and in some sports prevented, from returning to the field until their doctors and medical staff are satisfied of a complete recovery from a concussion event.
Steve Roberts founded the Law Office of Steve Roberts, LLC. By sticking to his principles of protecting the rights of people injured due to another, provide honest hard work, maximizing client recovery, and that clients always come first, he has developed a strong relationsip with the Colorado Community. If you have been injured, check out Colorado Roberts Law to speak to an attorney today.