According to 2010 research conducted by the CDC, traumatic brain injury (TBIs) lead to more than 50,000 deaths, 280,000 hospitalizations, and 2.2 million emergency room visits every year in the United States. Statistics suggest that over 1.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of TBI. Sadly, children are at the greatest risk for crippling, potentially lifelong problems.
A concussion is extremely similar to a TBI, but may be referred to as a mild brain injury, mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), or minor head trauma. Concussions are often harder to diagnose and treat since symptoms tend to start off as minor. The blow or hit that results in a concussion can even seem rather undramatic. Without proper caution, however, a concussion can lead to a much more serious complication or subsequent brain injury.
Common Causes of Brain Injury
According to U.S. government statistics, the most common cause of TBIs and concussions is falling. 40% of TBI cases reported between the years of 2006 and 2010 involved some form of “slip and fall.” Unintentional blunt trauma (being hit by an object) is the second most common cause, accounting for roughly 15% of TBIs. Coming in third and fourth places, auto accidents and assaults account for roughly 14% and 10% of TBIs respectively. Other common causes of traumatic brain injury include diseases, inflammation, and birth injuries.
In regards to specific activities, sports injuries are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries and concussions. Concussions, especially, are very common in sports-related activities. It’s reported that as many as 3.8 million concussions occur each year between all levels of sport. Since concussions may or may not result in immediate pain or loss of consciousness, coaches, medical staff, and even victims often dismiss a concussion as something very minor. New research suggests, however, that the accumulation of undramatic concussions can lead to serious brain injury and even brain disease later in life.
TBI/Concussion Symptoms and Implications
TBI and concussion symptoms can vary considerably from person to person as well as based on the victim’s injury history. A concussion following multiple previous head injuries, for example, can result in symptoms that are much more debilitating.
Common early symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and concussions can include the following:
- Memory loss
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Poor concentration
- Loss of smell
- Dizziness/loss of balance
- Visual disturbances
Not all victims of a brain injury will experience every symptom. In fact, some victims—especially after receiving a concussion—may not experience any negative symptoms at all. In these cases, it’s common for symptoms to have a delayed response, some taking days or even weeks to present fully.
It’s relatively simple for doctors or medical staff to misdiagnose or fail to properly diagnose a concussion or traumatic brain injury. Recovering from a TBI can involve complicated and long-term medical care including therapy, surgery, and medication. The initial trauma can set off a cascade of future traumas or injuries. Brain injuries can have serious implications throughout a victim’s entire life. There have been numerous cases of TBI/concussion victims who, years after the original injury, experience brain deterioration and degenerative brain conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
It’s recommended that any victim of a head injury or suspected concussion seek medical care immediately. Oftentimes, the only way to diagnose a TBI is to use brain scans. After experiencing a head trauma or major concussion, it’s also highly recommended to avoid sports or other high-impact physical activities which may cause additional concussions. When a victim experiences subsequent brain injuries, they have a far greater chance of suffering from serious, lifelong implications.
Recovery and Therapy
Recovering from TBI can involve complicated and long-term medical maneuvering. The initial trauma can set off a cascade of future traumas or injuries that may be difficult to detect at the onset. For instance, say you slipped and fell and hit your head on the pavement. You might experience a concussion and temporary loss of consciousness, but then seem to recover. But then, two weeks later, the longer-term effects of the blow to the head might manifest. The brain tissue may respond to the initial force of a blow, for instance, by shearing and releasing a surge of neuro chemicals, which can later have crippling or deforming effects on brain function.
The Legal Help You Need for TBI
Due to the relatively cryptic nature of TBI, its incredible complexity, and its long-term nature, getting the proper medical help can be challenging. If you or someone you love has been a victim of a traumatic brain injury or serious concussion and you feel the incident or its implications were not the victim’s fault, it may be possible to receive the needed financial compensation in order to recover.
By contacting an experienced Louisville personal injury lawyer like Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices, you can receive a free, zero-obligation evaluation and find out if filing a lawsuit is an option for your particular case. Brain injury and concussion-related lawsuits are extremely complicated, but with the right Louisville, KY brain injury lawyer on your side, you can start receiving the help you need.