Why concussions should never be dismissed as a non-serious brain injury

Why concussions should never be dismissed as a non-serious brain injury

How many times have we heard the phrase “it’s only a concussion.” For years, people have dismissed concussions, believing them to be non-serious injuries. However, research in recent years has determined concussions are serious with experts saying concussions can be a life-altering event. In fact, the medical community now categorizes concussions as mild traumatic brain injuries, otherwise commonly known as mTBI. There are currently more than 5 million people living with TBI-related disabilities in the United States.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a result from a blow, bump, or jolt to the head.  Unlike cuts and bruises, a concussion is not visible to the naked eye. When one occurs, the injured person may become unconscious or experience a brief change of mental status. Concussions are a common injury for people who have been involved in car or pedestrian accidents. Symptoms exhibited by different people can be similar, but no two brain injuries are alike just as no two brains are alike. Symptoms a concussion may have occurred include:

  • Pupils do not dilate evenly
  • Headaches
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue and/or sleep problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Memory loss
  • Noise or light sensitivities
  • Vision difficulties
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • Mood changes, anxiety, and/or depression

Concussions should always be taken seriously because the signs indicating one has occurred can be very subtle. Some of the immediate symptoms that emerge after an accident will subside over time while others may never completely disappear. Additionally, new symptoms may emerge in the weeks or months following an accident. While concussions are usually not life-threatening, these injuries can still result in permanent life changes. Recent studies have found concussions are potentially linked to conditions such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s Disease and dementia which may not show up for years.

Brain injury statistics

Every year, approximately 2.8 million people are afflicted by a traumatic brain injury. These figures, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, count the people who have received treatment or experienced fatal injuries. About 70 to 90 percent are designated as mild traumatic brain injuries.

These statistics do not take into account the people who were injured but did not seek treatment from a healthcare professional. Many people who suffered a concussion fall into this category. Of the brain injuries diagnosed, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes. Concussions often do resolve with time, but not always. It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible to find out what your legal rights are in the event the injury is permanent.

What to do if you suspect a concussion

After an accident or potentially negligent situation that involved a blow, bump, or jolt to the head occurs, it’s important to be examined by a healthcare professional immediately. Early treatment and rehabilitation have been proven to help reduce the long-term impact of mild, moderate, or severe brain injuries. Even though they are referred to as “mild”, mTBIs can be complicated and unpredictable.

A traumatic brain injury is a life-altering event. They are often referred to as “the silent epidemic” because this type of injury can so easily fall under the radar or be misdiagnosed as something else. Unfortunately, many mTBIs go undiagnosed and people end up suffering, not knowing or understanding what is wrong. This can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.

If you or a family member have been affected by traumatic brain injury due to an accident or by the negligent action of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. Because the long-term effects of brain injuries are not always immediately visible, by contacting an attorney as soon as possible you can best protect yourself or your loved one from any potential long-term consequences suffered.