A concussion is a brain injury caused by an impact or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function. Like any brain injury, a concussion is a serious matter. Effects of concussions vary widely, from mild temporary impairment to long term disability. In extreme cases, concussions can lead to death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concussions are a contributing factor in roughly 30% of all injury deaths.
CAUSES OF CONCUSSIONS
Concussions can be caused by any impact or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function. The most common causes are below:
- Falls are the leading cause of concussions. They account for nearly half of all concussion related emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths. Fall related concussions occur most often among the elderly.
- The second greatest number of concussions (15%) result from the victim being struck in the head by an object.
- The third most common cause of concussions (14%) is motor vehicle accidents.
Concussion symptoms vary, but they commonly include:
Memory and Concentration:
Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, or remembering new information
Sensitivity to noise/light
Fatigue/lack of energy
Sleeping more than usual or less than usual
Trouble falling asleep
Some symptoms will appear immediately. Others may become noticeable days or even months after the injury.
Recovery time for concussions varies greatly. Some people recover quickly after injury. Others experience these disruptive symptoms for days, weeks, or longer. Factors affecting recovery include:
Elderly people, young children and teens typically experience slower recovery time.
People who have suffered a previous concussion typically have a longer recovery period. They are also more susceptible to future concussions.
If you believe you or someone you know has suffered a concussion, contact a health care professional immediately. A health care professional is needed to evaluate this type of injury and determine the correct care and treatment. Early treatment aids recovery.
Concussions can have life changing consequences. The best approach is to prevent them in the first place. Here are some tips for preventing concussions:
- Use a seat belt while riding in a motor vehicle. Children should use a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt as appropriate.
- Avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Wear a helmet when:
– Riding a bicycle, motorcycle, skates or skateboard;
– Playing contact sports;
– Batting and running bases in baseball or softball;
– Skiing or snowboarding.
- Make living areas safer for seniors:
– Remove tripping hazards such as throw rugs and floor clutter;
– Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and shower;
– Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower;
– Install handrails on both sides of stairways;
– Keep living areas well lit.
- Make living areas safer for children:
– Install window guards to protect young children from falling through open windows;
– Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs;
– Use playground surfaces made of shock-absorbing material, such as mulch or sand.
These measures go a long way toward avoiding the life disruption that comes from a concussion. However, even the most careful measures may not protect you against another person’s negligence. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered a concussion due to another’s negligence, you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Remember: a concussion is a brain injury and should be taken very seriously. A person suffering a concussion can face effects lasting a few days or a lifetime. In extreme cases, death can result. Concussion symptoms can be debilitating, affecting not only those experiencing the concussion, but also their families and loved ones. For such a serious matter, you should seek serious legal help.