A concussion is considered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused when the brain is shaken back and forth due to a violent jolt or a blow to the head. People commonly suffer concussions from car accidents, slip and falls, and high-impact sports. Since concussions are typically considered a mild TBI, many are unaware that there are potential long term effects.
Possible Long Term Effects of a Concussion
Concussions are not life-threatening in most cases, as symptoms typically resolve within a few weeks. However, a possible long term effect that 10 to 20 percent of victims suffer from is called post-concussion syndrome. With post-concussions syndrome, victims can experience symptoms that last months after the initial injury. Symptoms of this condition can include:
- Ringing in the ears
- Increased irritability
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
- Loss of concentration and memory
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to noise and light
- Changed senses of taste and smell
The chances of experiencing long-term symptoms increase if the victim has previously had a concussion or another type of TBI.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
When an individual suffers repeated concussions, it can lead to a severe long-term condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE causes brain inflammation and is characterized by:
- Changes in thinking, behavior, and emotions
- Depression and anxiety
- Personality and mood changes
- Motor symptoms, similar to those that occur with Parkinson’s disease or motor neuron disease
Unfortunately, CTE can only be diagnosed in an autopsy, as experts are still trying to understand the condition and its repercussions.
Long Term Financial Effects of a Concussion
In addition to physical long term effects, concussions can be financially devastating. Victims may be unable to work due to their symptoms, which can mean months of lost income and medical bills piling up. In addition, some concussion victims may also suffer emotional distress (e.g., depression, anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, etc.), be unable to earn the same level of income as before their injury, and suffer a diminished quality of life. Fortunately, if another party’s negligence was responsible for the concussion, victims have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable and obtain compensation to pay for their injury and related losses.
How to Prevent Long-Term Effects of a Concussion
The primary way to prevent long-term effects of a concussion is to seek medical care immediately after a head injury. It is always best to be thoroughly evaluated by a doctor, even if you did not lose consciousness or feel your injury is minor. Preventing re-injury is also critical. The following tips can help:
- Wait to drive until your healthcare provider clears you.
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
- Alert your doctor of any new symptoms throughout your recovery.
- Do not participate in sports-related activities until your doctor clears you.
- Use a seat belt when driving and if you are transporting children, ensure they are in age and size-appropriate car seats or booster seats.
- Wear properly fitting, sport-appropriate headgear and safety equipment when playing contact sports or biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, snowboarding, or skiing.
- Take children to playgrounds that have soft surfaces.
If you have suffered a concussion in a preventable accident, speak to an experienced San Antonio brain injury attorney. Concussion cases can be highly complex, but an attorney with the experience and trial skills to mount a successful case can significantly improve your chances of recovering fair compensation.