Concussion Causes And Risk Factors
The brain is made of soft tissue. It’s cushioned by spinal fluid and encased in the protective shell of the skull. When you have a blow or bump to your head, the impact can jolt your brain. Sometimes, it literally causes it to move around in your head. Traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising, damage to the blood vessels, and injury to the nerves.
The result is your brain doesn’t function as it should. If you’ve had a concussion, vision may be disturbed, you may lose equilibrium, or you may fall unconscious. In short, the brain is confused.
Some things increase your risk for a concussion, including:
- Falls, particularly in children and older adults
- Playing a contact sport
- An earlier concussion
Traumatic Brain Injury Compared To Concussions
Concussions are one of the milder forms of traumatic brain injuries, but victims still suffer physical and mental effects. Traumatic brain injuries are common, and those who suffer them as a result of an accident may have many months of medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover from their injuries. Severe traumatic brain injuries may require years of treatment, and victims may never fully regain the mental and physical abilities they had before their injury.
Signs And Symptoms Of Traumatic Brain Injury
Common symptoms of mild TBI are headaches, dizziness and fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory or concentration problems, and blurred vision. But a person may not display all of these at all times.
For severe TBI, symptoms can include slurred speech, profound confusion, seizures, persistant headaches, or loss of consciousness.
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How Serious Is My Injury
A TBI is basically the same thing as a concussion. A TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe. These terms tell you the nature of the injury itself. They do not tell you what symptoms you may have or how severe the symptoms will be.
A TBI can occur even when there is no direct contact to the head. For example, when a person suffers whiplash, the brain may be shaken within the skull. This damage can cause bleeding between the brain and skull. Bruises can form where the brain hits the skull. Like bruises on other parts of the body, for mild injuries these will heal with time.
About 80% of all TBI’s in civilians are mild . Most people who have a mTBI will be back to normal by three months without any special treatment. Even patients with moderate or severe TBI can make remarkable recoveries.
The length of time that a person is unconscious is one way to measure how severe the injury was. If you weren’t knocked out at all or if you were out for less than 30 minutes, your TBI was most likely minor or mild. If you were knocked out for more than 30 minutes but less than six hours, your TBI was most likely moderate.
Causes Of Concussions And More Severe Tbi
Any blow to the head or severe shaking of the head can cause a TBI. The most common causes are:
Falling. The higher the height, the more serious the brain injury can be. However, even falls from a lower level, like rolling off a bed, can result in a TBI.
Car and bicycle accidents. Brain injuries can be caused by an impact to the head or the sudden jolt of the collision.
Sports injuries. Some sports are well known to cause concussions, usually contact sports like football or soccer , but any sport where you could fall or come into contact with another player can cause a TBI.
Violence and combat. Being near an explosion can cause a TBI, as can penetrating wounds from shrapnel or bullets. Also, domestic violence, including shaken baby syndrome, are common causes.
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What Is Primary And Secondary Brain Injury
Primary brain injury refers to the sudden and profound injury to the brain that is considered to be more or less complete at the time of impact. This happens at the time of the car accident, gunshot wound, or fall.
Secondary brain injury refers to the changes that evolve over a period of hours to days after the primary brain injury. It includes an entire series of steps or stages of cellular, chemical, tissue, or blood vessel changes in the brain that contribute to further destruction of brain tissue.
Rehabilitation For Brain Injuries
Brain injuries often require long-term help. You might need services like:
- Occupational therapy
- Speech or language therapy
Moderate and severe TBIs often need these types of therapy. Professionals can help you adjust to a different life with a brain injury. Thankfully, many people can live a happy life with the right treatment and care.
No matter how a doctor describes a head or brain injury, its still serious. Do not delay getting treatment to ensure you heal as fully as possible.
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Can The Brain Heal After Being Injured
Most studies suggest that once brain cells are destroyed or damaged, for the most part, they do not regenerate. However, recovery after brain injury can take place, especially in younger people, as, in some cases, other areas of the brain make up for the injured tissue. In other cases, the brain learns to reroute information and function around the damaged areas. The exact amount of recovery is not predictable at the time of injury and may be unknown for months or even years. Each brain injury and rate of recovery is unique. Recovery from a severe brain injury often involves a prolonged or lifelong process of treatment and rehabilitation.
Traumatic Brain Injury And Ptsd
Traumatic brain injury occurs from a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Brain injury often results from a trauma, like an accident, blast or fall. Learn about the overlap in PTSD and TBI symptoms and how to cope.
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TBI occurs from a sudden blow or jolt to the head. Brain injury often occurs during some type of trauma, such as an accident, blast, or a fall. Often when people refer to TBI, they are mistakenly talking about the symptoms that occur following a TBI. Actually, a TBI is the injury, not the symptoms.
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Head Injury Prevention Tips
- Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle. Never operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or ride as a passenger with anyone who is under the influence.
- Remove hazards in the home that may contribute to falls, especially around young children or the elderly. Secure rugs and loose cords, put away toys, use safety gates, etc.
- Always use approved and properly fitted safety equipment for your sport of choice, and make sure it is in good condition.
- While there is no concussion-proof helmet, they do protect the skull and absorb impact. Make sure your helmet fits properly and is worn consistently.
Causes Of Concussions And Traumatic Brain Injury
There are many causes of brain injury, including:
- Car accidents: Accidents that involve speeding or a head-on collision are more likely to result in a serious TBI.
- Sports-related accidents: Athletes may suffer a blow to the head when colliding with another person, sporting equipment, or the ground.
- Assault: Victims may sustain a blow to the head or hit their head on the ground during an assault.
- Slip and fall: If you slip and fall due to wet floors, an uneven side walk, or faulty stairs or handrails, a brain injury can occur.
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What Is Diffuse Axonal Injury
Diffuse axonal injury is the shearing of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers that happens when the brain is injured as it shifts and rotates inside the bony skull. DAI usually causes coma and injury to many different parts of the brain. The changes in the brain are often microscopic and may not be evident on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans.
What Are The Treatments For Traumatic Brain Injury
The treatments for TBI depend on many factors, including the size, severity, and location of the brain injury.
For mild TBI, the main treatment is rest. If you have a headache, you can try taking over-the-counter pain relievers. It is important to follow your health care provider’s instructions for complete rest and a gradual return to your normal activities. If you start doing too much too soon, it may take longer to recover. Contact your provider if your symptoms are not getting better or if you have new symptoms.
For moderate to severe TBI, the first thing health care providers will do is stabilize you to prevent further injury. They will manage your blood pressure, check the pressure inside your skull, and make sure that there is enough blood and oxygen getting to your brain.
Once you are stable, the treatments may include:
- Surgery to reduce additional damage to your brain, for example to
- Remove hematomas
- Get rid of damaged or dead brain tissue
- Repair skull fractures
- Relieve pressure in the skull
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What Causes A Traumatic Brain Injury
When you take a violent, hard hit to your head, your brain may experience changes in chemical and energy use as a way to compensate for the injury. These changes can result in headaches, light/sound sensitivity, and confusion. In mild TBIs, these changes are short and do not permanently damage the brain. However, with more severe injuries, these changes can last longer and result in damage to the brain cells. These effects can cause the brain to swell and expand inside the skull. The swelling can lead to even more brain damage.
Managing Concussions: The Nfl Protocol
Because each player and each concussion is unique, there is no set timeframe for recovery and return to participation under the NFLs current guidelines. The decision to return a player who has a concussion back to practice and games resides with the team physician managing the concussion protocols and is confirmed by an independent neurological consultant , who is consulted specifically for the players neurological health.
After a player is diagnosed with a concussion, the protocol calls for a minimum of daily monitoring. The players past concussion exposure, medical history and family history are considered, creating a more complete picture of his health. The protocol progresses through a series of steps, moving to the next step only when all activities in the current step are tolerated without recurrence of symptoms. Communication between the player and the medical staff during the protocol is essential.
When the team physician gives the player final clearance, the player has a final examination by the INC assigned to his team. As part of this examination, the INC will review all reports and tests documented through the players recovery. Once the INC confirms the conclusion of the team physician, the player is considered cleared and is eligible for full participation in the next game or practice.
Outward Appearance Of Patient With Head Trauma
When my father fell and struck his head, he displayed neurological symptoms: initial belligerence , not thinking clearly, perseveration , short-term memory loss and the inability to recall that a few weeks prior, hed undergone knee replacement surgery.
However, the CT scans of his brain upon ER admission, and the day after, were normal.
The symptoms resolved over the next several hours after ER admission, and there were never any other issues.
When my mother fell and struck her head, she displayed NO neurological symptoms at all. And her CT scan that day and the next were normal.
However, six weeks later she developed neurological symptoms. The CT scan showed bleeding in her brain: a chronic subdural hematoma. At that point she was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.
How Is A Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms. They will also want to learn more about what caused the injury. Depending on the severity of the injury and symptoms, you may have:
- Neurological evaluation: A neurologist checks your memory, thinking, motor function and sensory functions .
- Imaging tests: A CT scan or MRI checks for brain bleeding and swelling.
- Blood test: The Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator looks for proteins in your blood that indicate concussion or mild TBI.
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Concussion Treatment And Home Remedies
If you donât need hospitalization, the doctor will give you instructions to follow. Experts recommend follow-up medical attention within 24 to 72 hours if symptoms worsen. To recover at home, you should:
- Take a break. If your concussion was sustained during athletic activity, stop play and sit it out. Your brain needs time to properly heal, so rest is key. Definitely do not resume play the same day. Athletes and children should be closely monitored by coaches upon resuming play. If you resume play too soon, you risk a greater chance of having a second concussion, which can compound the damage. The American Academy of Neurology has issued guidelines about resuming activities after a concussion.
- Guard against repeat concussions. Repeat concussions cause cumulative effects on the brain. Successive concussions can have devastating consequences, including brain swelling, permanent brain damage, long-term disabilities, or even death. Don’t return to normal activities if you still have symptoms. Get a doctor’s clearance so you can return to work or play with confidence.
- Treat pain with aspirin-free medications. Your doctor will prescribe a medication to relieve pain or recommend an over-the-counter option.
What Are The Symptoms Of Concussion
Mild head injury can leave people with a range of concussion symptoms including dizziness, nausea, confusion or an inability to process or retain information, sensitivity to light, and vision distortion.
In the early stages after a mild head injury, there is a small risk of developing complications that may require emergency treatment. Find out more about the warning signs below.
While for most people concussion symptoms will resolve themselves in a few days or weeks, some people may find that they persist for much longer. Post-concussion syndrome is the name given to the range of symptoms that continue to occur following a mild head injury or concussion.
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Tbi Vs Concussion: Legal Settlements
There is no average settlement amount for head injuries. The value of someones legal claim depends on the severity of the persons injuries.
Each case is going to be unique because of its circumstances. TBIs can range from very mild, where the person doesnt even know theyre injured, to severe and fatal.
Both conditions can be difficult to diagnose and treat if the persons injuries arent physically obvious.
Whether you were in an auto accident or suffered a bad fall, you should always have the doctor check you for harm done to your brain. Diagnosis and documentation will be key to proving your injuries.
A large part of someones legal claim will be compensated for the amount of medical care involved in treating the persons injuries and their future medical needs.
Their claim will also include the wages theyve lost and the loss of their capacity to earn in the future. Someone could be out of work for a few weeks while they heal or disabled for several years or longer.
Head injury settlements also involve non-economic losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life, none of which are easily given a dollar amount.
Your attorney can help you figure out how much compensation you can reasonably expect if you have a valid claim.
What Treatments Are Available
Mild TBI usually requires rest and medication to relieve headache. Moderate to severe TBI require intensive care in a hospital. Bleeding and swelling in the brain can become an emergency that requires surgery. However, there are times when a patient does not require surgery and can be safely monitored by nurses and physicians in the neuroscience intensive care unit .
The goals of treatment are to resuscitate and support the critically ill patient, minimize secondary brain injury and complications, and facilitate the patient’s transition to a recovery environment. Despite significant research, doctors only have measures to control brain swelling, but do not have a way to eliminate swelling from occurring.
Neurocritical care Neurocritical care is the intensive care of patients who have suffered a life-threatening brain injury. Many patients with severe TBI are comatose or paralyzed they also may have suffered injuries in other parts of the body. Their care is overseen by a neurointensivist, a specialty-trained physician who coordinates the patient’s complex neurological and medical care. Patients are monitored and awakened every hour for nursing assessments of their mental status or brain function.
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Sorting Out The Confusion
A traumatic brain injury is an injury that results in physical trauma to the brain. This usually comes from a blow to the head, or even an object penetrating the skull. The brain is a complex organ and damage to any part of it can have unpredictable results. Changes in personality or violent mood swings can result, as well as loss of concentration, and difficulties with memory retention and formation. Brain injury also can result in more serious damage, such as loss of motor skills and impairment of even basic functions such as feeding oneself or taking care of personal hygiene. There is a range of injuries that can occur to the brain. Milder injuries may affect fewer tasks and cause fewer impairments for the victim of the injury. They also may heal within a few months and leave fewer lasting problems. More serious injuries, on the other hand, may result in severe physical or mental impairment.