With the advances of today’s modern medicine, people who suffer injuries in accidents, on the playing field, or at home expect a fairly comprehensive recovery. Even with a severe injury, many patients have the expectation that medical professionals will offer available treatments and therapies to reach a clear endpoint.
However, for some injuries, this may not be possible. One example of this is in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions. Scientists and physicians say there is still a lot to learn about the exact nature and possible health consequences of these brain injuries. Most agree that a concussion is a serious injury that should be addressed promptly and appropriately to avoid further repercussions.
What is a Concussion?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can change the way the brain functions. A concussion occurs when the brain is jolted in such a way that it causes the brain to hit up against the skull. Researchers describe the brain as having a gelatin-like consistency, and it's protected by fluid inside the skull. When a violent jolt, bump, shake, or crash occurs, the fluid may not be able to cushion the brain enough to keep it from hitting the skull walls. When this happens, brain cells can stretch and be damaged, and chemical changes can occur in the brain.
Some common causes of concussions include:
- Sports injuries
- Car crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Violent shaking (sometimes seen in domestic violence cases)
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion Can be Difficult
Every person reacts to a brain injury differently. There is no definitive test to determine whether or not a person has suffered a concussion. Doctors use a combination of neurologic, cognitive, and imaging tests to evaluate each patient. However, many people do experience similar symptoms, such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of memory
- Lack of coordination
- Severe headache
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
Many of these symptoms appear quite soon after the injury, which is why it's important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
An additional danger of a concussion is that, in some cases, individuals experience long-lasting physical and emotional symptoms. In the weeks, months, and even years that follow the injury, people may still have concentration and memory issues, headaches, sleep trouble, personality changes, depression, and other serious conditions.
Treating a Concussion in a Timely and Effective Manner is Crucial
Research indicates that people recover from similar concussion injuries much differently, though it's not clear how or why. This is especially true between men and women. But, if a physician determines a patient sustained a concussion, the treatment options are fairly similar. Typically, the injured person is told to rest, avoid physical activity, refrain from using caffeine and alcohol, and limit screen-related activities, such as television, video games, and computers. Most people recover in a week or two, but others may have lingering effects if they suffered a particularly severe concussion or have a history of previous head injuries.
Though the treatment plans can be similar, the unique nature of each specific concussion injury requires a comprehensive evaluation by a medical professional to reduce the negative health effects in both the short and long term. Failing to seek treatment may worsen the injury and increase the complications related to it. Some of these complications include:
- Difficulty with brain function
This is especially true for people who sustained a concussion in the past. The Mayo Clinic researchers point to evidence that states individuals who have had multiple concussions are at greater risk for developing more serious and long-lasting physical and emotional impairments. So, if you’ve had a previous concussion, don't simply stick to an old treatment plan. Every injury should be assessed by a physician.
If you or someone you love has suffered a concussion, the serious injury lawyers at the Morris James Personal Injury Group may be able to help you seek justice for your injury and obtain compensation vital to an effective recovery. To learn more about your rights in Delaware and your possible legal options, take a moment to fill out our online contact form or call our office nearest you.