Head injuries can be very serious and result in mild impairment like slight memory problems, or they can result in severe impairment like the loss of speech. For this very reason, you must know what to do after you experience a concussion or suspect you may have a concussion. Getting medical attention to evaluate the severity of your concussion and following proper medical directions to avoid serious, lifelong impairment is imperative following any type of head injury.
What is a Concussion and What is a TBI?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur every year in the United States, and of those, 75% are concussions. According to the CDC, a “TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.”
But not all jolts and blows to the head constitute a traumatic brain injury. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” which may manifest as a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” which may manifest as an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.
While not as obvious as bleeding or swelling in the brain, concussions can still cause serious issues, sometimes long term. A concussion is defined by the Brain Injury Association as “A trauma that induces an alteration in mental status that may or may not involve a loss of consciousness.” There are several different types of concussions:
- Grade 1: Results in temporary confusion, being dazed and unable to think clearly. Symptoms usually clear up in about 15 minutes.
- Grade 2: The symptoms are similar to Grade 1, but the concussed person will develop memory loss, though they remain conscious. Symptoms will persist for more than 15 minutes.
- Grade 3: The concussed loses consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes, and brain function disruptions can be noted in physical, cognitive, and behavioral issues.
Symptoms of a Concussion
The symptoms of a concussion are many and may include any or all of the following:
- Headaches that worsen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble thinking clearly
- Trouble remembering facts and details
- Interrupted sleep
- Mood swings
Right After a Concussion…
Stabilize the victim immediately and call 911. Give the doctor a complete medical history, and be sure to include information about any previous blows to the head. You or your loved one may have to undergo neurological testing, neuropsychological tests, or a CT scan to accurately diagnose and treat the head injury.
Most concussions clear up within seven to ten days; if your symptoms persist longer or get worse over time, please contact your doctor. Here are some suggestions to ensure a speedy and full recovery:
- Get plenty of sleep at night
- Avoid emotionally draining activities
- Avoid activities that require deep concentration
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Don’t play video games
- Stay home from work or school, if possible
- Place a cold or ice pack on any swelling
- Take ibuprofen or Tylenol as directed by your physician
Stay alert for worsening symptoms and any changes in behavioral, neurological, or cognitive function.
If your concussion or that of your loved one occurred because of someone’s reckless or negligent behavior, you may want to talk to an injury attorney like Phillip Milligan. If you were injured in a car accident, a slip or fall, or if someone struck you intentionally, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.