Recent attempts by professional and amateur athletic associations to reduce head trauma, along with increased focus by the media regarding concussions, has sparked much discussion on helmet use, concussion treatment and the long-term effects of concussions. However, many myths and misconceptions still surround traumatic brain injuries. TBIs, including concussions, are dangerous injuries that can produce lingering damage. Worse, it can be difficult to tell whether a person is concussed or gauge the severity of a TBI, meaning that many who should be getting treatment merely shrug off the injury.
A concussion occurs when either the head hits an object or an object strikes the head, causing the brain to bump against the skull. The brain's movement, called jarring, can lead to significant damage, including memory loss, trouble concentrating and changes in personality. The effects of a concussion can linger for weeks, months or even years. Many concussions result from falls, sports injuries and car accidents.
When a person shows signs of a concussion, such as dizziness, memory loss, nausea, headache and seeing flashing lights, assume that he or she is concussed and talk to a medical professional as soon as possible. If convulsions, changes in consciousness, muscle weakness or repeated vomiting occur, seek immediate help, as these are signs of an emergency concussion that needs to be treated in a hospital.
The following list debunks common concussion myths:
- A concussion may be serious even if the injured person does not lose consciousness
- The severity of the impact to the head does not necessarily indicate how bad the concussion is; even unremarkable hits can do serious damage
- Helmets do not always prevent concussions; helmets for cyclists and construction workers, for example, are designed to avoid skull fractures, and no helmet can completely prevent concussions
- Not all concussions are the same, and they may need to be treated differently
- A normal CT scan does not detect concussions, only structural injuries
- Children can suffer from concussions, and a repeat concussion can be particularly dangerous
If you have been concussed in an accident, no matter the cause, it is important to reduce strenuous physical activity, including sports, until the brain has time to heal. If your concussion was the result of the negligence of someone else, such as a car accident or a business owner's failure to keep his or her property safe, contact a personal injury attorney who may be able to help you pay for medical costs and lost wages associated with the accident.