At some point or another, we all hit our heads; whether you do so while standing up without thinking in the attic and hit your head off a support beam, or you play sports and a tackle has you getting your head hit pretty hard. Perhaps we do not think much of them, but a hit to the head is nothing to take lightly. Even a small injury to your head can lead to severe consequences if you do not get your head checked out by a medical professional. A concussion is a good example of a mild traumatic brain injury that can turn worse if it is not treated correctly or promptly.
What exactly is a concussion?
As stated earlier, a concussion is a mild type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Traumatic brain injuries occur when the head is forcefully struck or jolted. This impact can cause bruising and abrasions, possibly leading to internal bleeding and swelling inside the skull. Concussions are a mild form of this sort of injury, with symptoms like headaches, ringing in the ears, nausea, and blurred vision. In more moderate to severe cases, symptoms may also include periods of unconsciousness, seizures, repeated vomiting, and fluids draining from the ears and nose. Not every symptom presents immediately, and could show up a few days later.
Other forms of TBIs include:
- Edema. The swelling of the brain against the inside of the skull, which cannot expand to adjust to the swelling brain. The pressure created by this can damage the brain.
- Diffuse axonal injury. “A diffuse axonal injury causes damage to the axons of brain cells that makes them unable to function. There is no bleeding associated with a diffuse axonal injury, however there can be swelling. This type of injury can ultimately lead to a loss of certain functions.”
- Ruptured aneurysm. This happens when a blood vessel ruptures in your brain from an injury, causing blood to pool in the brain or in the empty spaces around the brain.
No matter the head injury, it is important to ensure that you seek out medical treatment. Even a small bump to your head can lead to fatal consequences. Do not allow yourself to be alone for the first day after your injury, as you may not notice the symptoms of a head injury on your own.
What are the complications of a concussion?
With an organ as fragile as your brain, an injury will come along with plenty of complications. Concussion complications include:
- Post-traumatic headaches. Injury related headaches up to seven days after the injury.
- Post-traumatic vertigo. Feelings of dizziness that last weeks or months after the injury.
- Post-concussion syndrome. Also called persistent post-concussive symptoms, this prolongs the symptoms of a concussion for weeks to months. Some experts argue that this condition is due to structural damage in the brain, while other experts argue that it is merely a psychological condition, as many of the symptoms experienced are also experienced by those with depression and anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Second–impact syndrome. While this is a rare syndrome, it is a very dangerous one. Second-impact syndrome happens when the head is struck again before the symptoms and effects of the first concussion have receded, causing the brain to swell. This condition is usually fatal. Survivors are usually left with such extensive brain damage that their life is drastically changed, possibly leaving them severely and permanently disabled. This sort of condition happens to young athletes who do not take the proper time to rest before they go back out to play their sport, risking further damage to their already damaged brains. Second-impact syndrome can cause fatal injury in mere moments.
How can I avoid and prevent concussions?
At work, your employer should be taking the proper actions to make sure your work environment is a safe one, but it is always a good idea to make sure you follow appropriate procedures and wear protective gear, such as helmets and harnesses to prevent falls. Outside of work, other ways to help keep you from experiencing a concussion include:
- Wear protective gear. Protective gear is not just for construction jobs or lumberjacks. If you play sports or participate in active hobbies, it is critical to wear protective gear that fits you properly and meets safety standards.
- Wear helmets during recreation. While it may feel good to feel the wind in your hair, wearing helmets while participating in sports or activities such as bicycling, snow-mobiling, jet-skiing or other recreational activities can save your life.
- Buckle your seatbelt. Wearing a seat belt may prevent serious injury, including head injury, during a traffic accident. Plus, it’s the law.
- Keep properties Property owners have a responsibility to keep premises well-lit and floors free of anything that might cause you to trip and fall. Falls around the home are a leading cause of head injury.
- Exercising regularly. Exercise regularly to strengthen your leg muscles and improve your balance.
Do I need a lawyer after a TBI?
If your brain injury was due to someone else’s negligence or actions, consider seeking out the help of a traumatic brain injury lawyer who knows what you are going through, and has helped others before like you. Or if your loved one suffered a TBI that ultimately led to their death, an attorney can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party who caused their injury. You do not deserve to suffer the pain of an injury brought on by someone else while also having to pay medical costs and damages.
Perhaps you have already suffered from a concussion, perhaps this is your first brain injury. Either way, it is important that you know the dangers that come with hitting your head, even if it is a mild bump to the head. A concussion, while categorized as a “mild” traumatic brain injury is still traumatic whether it is mild or not.
We have seen how a concussion can lead to worsening conditions and side effects that can prove to be fatal. If you have suffered a traumatic head injury, schedule a free consultation with a St. Louis personal injury attorney at The Hayden Law Firm by calling 314-480-3100 or filling out our contact form. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.
Attorney Amanda L. Hayden has dedicated her legal career to fearlessly advocating for clients and their families after their lives have been devastated by the careless and/or reckless conduct of others.
Read more about Amanda L. Hayden