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Post-Concussion Syndrome: The Dangers of Underestimating a “Mild” TBI

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Before we get into what a concussion is, you should understand that any brain injury, whether it’s categorized as “mild” or “severe,” needs to be taken seriously.

Damage to any part of the brain, no matter how small, is cause for concern. Mild traumatic brain injuries can be just as life-threatening as severe ones if left untreated or re-injured.

It is important to note that a brain injury can be sustained without an object penetrating or fracturing the skull. Also, a brain injury can occur without loss of consciousness.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain, such as in motor vehicle accidents, sports, falls or strikes to the head.

TBIs can range from “mild” (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury). However, we know it is not “mild” if you or a loved one sustained such an injury.

What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion?

Signs of a concussion can vary from person to person; symptoms may come and go. The most common indicators that someone is suffering from a concussion are as follows:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue
  • Appearing dazed
  • Fogginess
  • Temporary loss of bowel or bladder control

Delayed Concussion Symptoms

In some cases, concussion symptoms appear hours, days, or longer after the traumatic event. These may include:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Sleep impairment
  • Problem with the senses, such as difficulty tasting or smelling, or sensitivity to light
  • Balance issues
  • Changes in moods
  • Crying and emotional swings
  • An inability to monitor their behavior or act/react in a socially acceptable manner
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • An inability to control their impulses
  • Seizures

Initial Scans Can Sometimes Miss a TBI

The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be difficult to sort out. Early on, problems may be overlooked by the person with the concussion, family members, or doctors. People may look fine even though they are acting or feeling differently.

Sometimes, people do not recognize or want to admit that they are having difficulties. Others may not understand their problems and how the symptoms they are experiencing impact their daily activities.

A doctor will likely order an MRI or CT scan but imaging tests sometimes miss microscopic tears and injury sites. This can happen due to the concussion damage occurring on a cellular level.  The injury may be to a specific area of the brain (focal), or brain cells in multiple areas of the brain are affected (diffuse). A patient might even have both a focal and a diffuse injury to the brain.

A person suspected of suffering a concussion after an accident should see a medical professional immediately. Make sure to consult with a concussion specialist if your symptoms persist or you need a second opinion.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

It is an unfortunate reality for some patients that the after-effects of a TBI can last for weeks or months. They may even be permanent. If a patient experiences symptoms for more than four weeks, this is known as post-concussion syndrome (PCS).

For reasons still difficult to determine, some patients are more likely to experience a prolonged recovery and persistent symptoms. Between 15% to 30% of patients who have sustained a TBI will continue to have symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or vertigo.

Those most at risk for PCS include:

  • Those who have suffered one or more prior concussions
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Family history
  • Women

Why You Should Be Concerned

Traumatic brain injuries are serious, especially when they remain undiagnosed and not treated in a timely fashion. Recent evidence shows that a TBI reduces life expectancy and increases long-term mortality.

A study of over 350,000 veterans revealed that the risk of developing dementia after sustaining a mild TBI without loss of consciousness is more than double that of individuals who have never suffered a TBI.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are a major cause of death and disability in the United States. For example, in 2014, an average of 155 people died each day from injuries that include a TBI.

Concussion Recovery Time

The long-term effects of a TBI can be difficult to predict, especially in the early stages. Most improvement occurs in the first few months after the injury, with the majority occurring within one year from the date of injury.

There will be good days, and there will be difficult ones. It can be frustrating for the patient and their family when progress is slow or appears not to be happening.

A variety of factors can slow or impede recovery, including the patient’s overall health before the injury, their personality, their emotional functioning before the injury, their intellectual level, and the availability and involvement of family and friends.

This short window for recovery is why it’s crucial to begin treatment as soon as possible.

Concussion Injury Settlement

If a car accident or workplace incident caused your concussion, Gary Martin Hays & Associates can help. We set our clients up with medical specialists who design treatment plans to assess the severity of their TBIs and support them during their recovery.

We know how difficult it can be for a person and family struggling with the after-effects of a concussion. The injured victim is unable to work, they may have trouble speaking or walking, and they are easily exhausted by simple activities.

Between trying to take care of a concussion victim and worrying about bills, you shouldn’t have to jump through the insurance company’s bureaucratic hoops. Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers are here to ensure you are cared for and don’t have to pay a dime out of pocket for your loved one’s injuries.

Contact us for a free consultation regarding your concussion injury case. We are here to listen and get you the legal support you need and the financial compensation you deserve.

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