What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow, jolt or bump to the head, altering the functions of the brain. A concussion is sometimes referred to as an ‘invisible’ injury, because its symptoms are not always apparent on the surface.
Common Ways to Get a Concussion
There are several ways in which an individual can sustain concussions. These include:
- Car Crashes
- Bike or Motorcycle Accidents
- Sport Injuries; football, boxing, soccer
- Playground Injuries (children)
What are the Possible Symptoms of a Concussion?
Symptoms or signs of a concussion can be mild, severe or in between. The impact of the injury may determine the severity, as well as the length of time that the symptoms last; hours, days, weeks or months. There are also different categories of symptoms that an individual may experience; physical, thinking or remembering, emotional and sleep.
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Lack of balance
• Thinking or Remembering
- Unable to remember events prior to the injury
- Unable to concentrate
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Sadness or feeling down
- More emotional than usual
- Sleeping more than usual
- Sleeping less than usual
- Difficulty falling asleep (insomnia)
• Are the Symptoms for Young Children Different? If so, what are they?
- Crying more than usual
- Headache that does not go away
- Changes in the way they play or act
- Changes in the way they eat
- Feeling down or sad
- Loss of new skills; for example in the case of a young child, speech progress may diminish
- Inability to pay attention
- Loss of balance; walking, running
What can happen to Nerve Cells When an Individual has a Concussion?
In the event of a strong jolt or severe concussion, the internal structure of the nerve cells becomes damaged and in some cases, cells may die. This may result in the inability to sense pain such as chest pains; heart attack.
A lesser jolt however results in cells dumping chemicals which may lead to a mini seizure.
Many times, individuals are unaware that they are suffering from a concussion because the symptoms are not easily identifiable. For this reason education and public awareness is recommended, especially for those who participate in sporting activities or parents of young children.
Long Term Consequences of Multiple Concussions
There are seldom any brutal long term consequences for mild concussions. An individual, who suffers from a lesser jolt, has the ability to recover shortly after they receive the injury. Multiple concussions however, result in long term effects. There are several side effects of multiple concussions such as severe headaches and sleeping disorders. It has also been reported that multiple concussions, although they are minor, may result in memory loss and slows down the functions of the brain. The key to avoiding these long term consequences is to avoid multiple concussions or try to prevent head injury altogether.
Can an Individual Recover fully after having a Concussion?
Recovery is most times based on the severity of the injury; however, various studies have shown that full recovery is difficult despite the severity. Most times there are permanent changes to the brain when an individual receives a head injury. An individual is also more susceptible to a concussion after suffering one. Some people are able to recover, but the measure of recovery varies.
Even when the symptoms of a concussion appear to have gone, the brain is still not yet 100 percent normal, according to Dr. Maryse Lassonde, a neuropsychologist and the scientific director of the Quebec Nature and Technologies Granting Agency.
Treatment for a Concussion
In some cases serious head injuries that include bleeding and brain damage require immediate medical attention. Doctors can perform a brain scan to assess the severity of the head injury and act accordingly. For a mild concussion however, little to no treatment is needed. An individual, in this case, may use self-care techniques. Some of these techniques include:
- Put ice on head injury every 2 to 4 hours for 30 minutes to reduce swelling
- Take paracetamol to control the pain
- Get plenty of rest
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Return to work or usual activities after recovery
- Have someone stay with you for the first 48 hours
Although it may be challenging to avoid head injuries, in some situations it is possible to prevent it or prevent severe injury. These prevention measures include:
- Wearing protective gear such as helmets, seat belts and hard hats
- Following bicycle or motorcycle safety recommendations
- Do not consume alcohol when driving or do not ride with a driver who has consumed alcohol
- Allowing for sufficient time to restore to normalcy after a concussion
A concussion can have a serious impact on an individual’s heath and can also affect their future. In some situations people may suffer from concussions that were not caused by their own fault. If you have suffered a concussion as a result of a car accident or due to someone’s negligence you may be entitled to financial compensation. After seeking medical attention, we recommend that you speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to advise you on whether you should pursue a legal claim.