Time is always of the essence when dealing with any type of traumatic brain injury and no blow to the head should ever be left untreated simply because the victim isn’t actively experiencing a “headache”.
Whether a concussion injury occurs while playing a full contact sport such as football or is sustained in an accident, the severity of this type of injury should not be ignored. People often don’t associate concussions with traumatic brain injuries, however, that is exactly what they are. When a victim sustains a suspected concussion after an accident they must be immediately transported to a hospital for further evaluation.
It’s important to remember that not every head injury is visible, and thorough imaging must be performed to rule out severe and life threatening complications after a blow to the head. This article will seek to explain that, and what, exactly, a concussion is. We’ll also delve into how this type of injury must be treated. We will also briefly explore several other types of traumatic brain injuries and what they mean for accident victims.
Concussions and their causes
The CDC defines a concussion as follows:
“A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”
Now that we have a clearly defined picture of a concussion, let’s look at the specific accidents known to cause these life-threatening injuries:
- Contact sports in which helmets are not worn or properly secured
- Motorcycle accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents in which the head moves rapidly back and forth; these accidents can also cause whiplash and spinal cord injuries
- Hit-and-run accidents in which a pedestrian is struck
The ticking clock on concussions
When it comes to assessing and treating head injuries of any kind–time is of the essence. Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions are some of the most time sensitive injuries that paramedics attend to in the field. These injuries can cause lifelong, permanent injury in the best-case-scenarios, but if left untreated, can ultimately be fatal.
Car accidents and sports-related concussions are two of the most prominent types of concussions that victims tend to sustain. Any severe blow to the head can cause a concussion, so it’s important not to forget that falls, being struck by a vehicle, and motorcycle collisions are all culprits in this oft-silent epidemic.
If not treated in a timely manner, concussions can become severe and life-threatening. It’s never wise to “wait it out” just because the victim isn’t complaining of severe (or any) pain. Concussions are a silent but extreme threat and must be treated as quickly as possible.
In order to better understand the silent nature of concussion and other head injuries similar to them, let’s look at the signs and symptoms that may be missed after a fall or blow to the head (say, on the football field or due to a reckless driver).
The physical symptoms of concussion that a victim may complain of hours or even days after a blow to the head:
- Balance problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Blurry vision
The mental symptoms of concussion that those caring for an injured victim must be aware to look for:
- Memory problems
- Difficulty with concentration
- Loss of focus
There are also less obvious symptoms such as sleep disturbances (more or less sleeping or inability to fall asleep) and changes in mood or behavior that those around an injured victim may not markedly associate with a possible concussion. However, combined with a blow to the head, these symptoms must be taken seriously.
Quick tip: it’s a well known fact that making sure a victim who may have suffered a concussion stays awake until a doctor has given the “all clear” to allow them to sleep or nap; sleeping can put a concussed victim into a comatose state, which is also life-threatening.
After a concussion: next steps
After a concussion sustained in an accident it’s important to seek legal advice. An attorney with experience in traumatic brain injury will know the next steps to take when pursuing those who caused the victim bodily harm. Each traumatic brain injury case is unique, and depends on how the injury was sustained. Only an attorney with experience in TBI, and who has taken a TBI claim to trial, should take point as the Senior Attorney on these cases.
The legal recourse on concussions
It’s important that someone close to the victim documents exactly what occurred, the time and date, who caused the accident, and the symptoms the victim suffered immediately after and for a prolonged period after the accident. Concussions are longterm injuries that have lasting effects. Victims must be compensated accordingly for these life-threatening injuries.