A concussion happens when someone suffers a blow to the head that shakes the brain inside the skull. Doctors call this type of injury a traumatic brain injury, and even though there may be no other signs of trauma (like cuts or bruises), the blow to the head may cause injury to the brain. Despite not being able to see the actual source of the injury, concussions are serious injuries that coaches, parents, and physicians should take care to treat.
Signs of a Concussion
Many people believe a person must lose consciousness to have a real concussion, but someone can have a concussion even without passing out. Having a concussion is a fairly common injury, and they can be tricky to diagnose. Here are symptoms of a concussion – both the obvious ones and the ones that may not be so apparent – to look for after someone suffers a head injury:
- Loss of consciousness
- Headache/ringing in ears
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Confusion/memory loss/trouble concentrating
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Clumsiness/balance issues
- Behavior changes
If you notice any of these behaviors in someone after a head injury, insist that this person rest. Most of the time, people recover completely after a concussion with time and rest. For some, this happens in a few hours, but it can be weeks for others. Perhaps what’s most important to realize is that the brain is still wounded after a concussion, and just like with any wound, hurting it again will exacerbate the injury. What began as a mild concussion can be made much worse if the person concussed resumes activities that might cause re-injury.
Types of Concussions
Doctors categorize concussions through grades. A mild concussion (grade 1) generally lasts less than 15 minutes without loss of consciousness. Grade 2 is a more severe concussion with no loss of consciousness, but it lasts longer than 15 minutes. Grade 3 is the most severe, and those who have a grade 3 concussion may have amnesia, loss of consciousness, and balance issues.
What to Do After a Concussion
If you or someone you know has sustained a grade 3 concussion, don’t wait. Get medical care immediately after someone who suffers a head injury has lost consciousness or can’t remember properly. If no one has passed out, the need for a physician is less dire, but he or she should consult a doctor to be sure the injured person is properly cared for. For the next few days or weeks, depending on how long symptoms last, the injured person should refrain from activities that could make the condition worse. Rest is crucial to proper healing after a concussion.
A person who is concussed should resist the temptation to go back into a sport that caused the head injury, and coaches and parents should be extra cautious after a repeat concussion before the first has healed. Though most people can recover from concussions, repeat concussions are very dangerous as they have a cumulative effect. This means that the second concussion is more pronounced than the first, and the third will be even more so. Repeated concussions can cause a host of dangerous consequences, among them:
- Long-term disability
- Permanent brain damage
- Brain swelling
Studies are revealing new evidence constantly about just how dangerous it is to return to a sport after a concussion. Be extremely mindful of your children in a high contact sport like football and hockey. If a coach or administrator sent you or your child back into a game before he or she had fully recovered, you may need to speak about your options with an attorney who understands PA law. Protection against further concussion is easy – as long as someone cares enough to do it.
If you or someone you love has suffered from high medical expenses or lost wages due to a concussion suffered because of someone else’s negligence, contact Anapol Weiss. Our experienced attorneys will fight on your behalf for fair compensation.