A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can range in severity and affects everyone differently. While some patients with concussions experience headaches and vision problems, others may lose consciousness and experience amnesia. Anyone can suffer from a concussive brain injury—however, athletes in high-impact sports, frequent drivers, and employees who work in harsh or dangerous conditions are especially at risk.
Symptoms of a concussion vary in severity depending on the strength of the impact, a patient’s medical history, and whether safety devices—such as seat belts and helmets—were being used during the time of impact. Concussion-related symptoms also vary in duration. While the most serious instances may lead to permanent health issues and complications, others can cause symptoms for just one to two weeks.
What Causes a Concussion?
A concussion occurs when the brain is forced through the body’s protective layer of liquid separating the brain from the skull. As a result, the brain and the skulls collide, damaging the impacted brain cells and causing chemical changes in the brain. The most common events that cause concussions include car accidents, sports-related collisions, and falls.
Identifying the Injury
A wide range of symptoms can be associated with a concussion and some are less evident than others. As such, it is not uncommon for those with concussive injuries to be unaware of their conditions. It is crucial that athletes, car accident victims, and those who have experienced—or are likely to experience—a severe impact to the head are aware of the symptoms that may indicate a concussive brain injury.
The following are symptoms that may indicate that you are suffering from a concussion:
- Loss of consciousness
- Ongoing headaches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe fatigue
- Vision disturbances
- Memory problems
- Impaired balance and coordination
- Difficulty concentrating
Complications of Severe Concussions
While most concussions are mild and resolve quickly when treated, some can be life-altering. Complications that can result from the most severe brain injuries can include:
- Epilepsy – In extreme cases, concussions can cause epilepsy, which leads to recurrent and unprovoked seizures in affected patients.
- Multiple-injury complications – Patients with existing brain injuries tend to experience symptoms that are more severe than those who have only had one concussion.
- Headaches – Ongoing headaches can last for weeks—and even months—after a head injury.
- Vertigo – Symptoms of vertigo can similarly last for weeks or months after an injury has occurred.
- Brain swelling – Any concussion can cause brain swelling. However, a second concussion that occurs before the injured patient has fully recovered from the first injury can result in additional swelling of the brain—a complication that can be fatal.
How Are Concussions Treated?
It is recommended that anyone who has received an impact to the head and has symptoms of a concussion contact his or her physician immediately. While treatment programs will vary, the most common recommendations include:
- Taking a break from physical activity
- Avoiding caffeinated beverages and alcohol
- Getting plenty of rest
- Avoiding bright lights such as computers, televisions, and phone screens
Preventing Brain Injuries
Accidents that cause brain injuries are often unexpected and sudden. Fortunately, there are many ways to be proactive about ensuring your safety. You may reduce your chances of experiencing a concussion by:
- Wearing a seat belt while riding in, or operating, a moving vehicle
- Wearing a helmet during high-impact or crash-prone activities, such as football, snowboarding and skateboarding
- Avoiding high-risk activities
- Wearing reflective gear when riding a bike or jogging
By taking these safety precautions, you can help prevent—and minimize the severity of—a head injury.
Representation That Matters
In the event that you or a loved one experiences a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion, you may be able to receive compensation for medical treatment. For legal protection in Washington, D.C. following a car wreck, pedestrian-automobile accident, sports-related head injury, or other accident that has caused a concussion, contact an experienced brain injury attorney today.