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The Difference Between a TBI and a Concussion

Published on Dec 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm in Brain Injury.

The brain is one of the most fragile areas of the body. Any injuries it sustains can lead to serious, lifelong complications. Extremely serious brain injuries, often referred to as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), are usually caused by trauma that results in unconsciousness. There’s another type of brain injury that’s slightly less severe and therefore less obvious. This type of injury, despite being more minor, can still be dangerous. Its symptoms can take years to present themselves, but they are no less deadly or debilitating than TBI symptoms.

The injury being referred to here is a concussion. Concussions are often classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBIs) or mild brain injuries, but new information is being revealed which links concussions to devastating long term side effects like brain disease and degenerative brain conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It appears that concussions, while seemingly minor, can have a severe impact on the brain over time—especially if subsequent concussions are also experienced.

With this new knowledge, it becomes apparent that concussions are quite a bit different from TBIs and even MTBIs. All three injuries share common links, but there are major differences between each. Here’s a rundown of the major differences between a TBI, a MTBI, and a concussion:

  • A traumatic brain injury is defined as a brain injury which occurs during dramatic trauma. Sustaining a brain injury after a severe fall or serious car accident are two examples. A period of unconsciousness that lasts longer than 30 minutes is often associated with a TBI. Amnesia may also occur.
  • With a mild traumatic brain injury, the injury may be less traumatic in nature, but still dramatic. Sports injuries are one common example. Similar to a TBI, MTBIs are associated with a loss of consciousness, but unlike TBIs, most MTBI victims only experience a period of unconsciousness of 30 minutes or less. Amnesia may also occur. Victims of an MTBI may experience symptoms for days or weeks after the injury occurs.
  • When a concussion occurs, the victim may or may not experience a dramatic trauma. Similar to an MTBI, concussions are often associated with sports injuries, but with a concussion, the victim may not even feel like they were hurt at all. A victim may not lose consciousness with a concussion, and in most cases, the recovery process will be fairly quick.

Essentially, a concussion isn’t extremely serious on its own, but when paired with side effects that last for more than a short period of time, a concussion can quickly turn into a mild traumatic brain injury. If multiple concussions are experienced by the victim such as while playing contact sports like football, for example, this can further increase the risks of developing side effects which are more serious—even potentially leading to devastating side effects and implications.

Concussions are difficult to diagnose and treat due to their somewhat “stealthy” nature. Many victims won’t report feeling any lingering pain or discomfort after a concussion, but precaution is still necessary. Victims of a concussion should be careful about putting themselves at risk to experience subsequent head injuries—whether they are minor or major.

If you or someone you love has experienced any type of brain injury whether it be a traumatic brain injury, a mild traumatic brain injury, or an injury which may have been caused by multiple concussions, you may feel like your options are few and far in between. If you feel the incident which caused the injury or injuries wasn’t the victim’s fault, you may have an option to take legal action, however, and potentially receive financial compensation as well as peace of mind.

Louisville, KY brain injury lawyer Tad Thomas and his team of attorneys at Thomas Law Offices are experienced in handling a wide array of personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. Contact our Louisville office for more information or to set up a no-cost consultation today.

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Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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