What Happens To Your Brain During A Concussion? – Your Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

By William Bill Hurst

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that may result in bad headaches, altered levels of alertness or even unconsciousness.  It interferes with the way your brain works and it can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance, coordination and sleep manner.  A concussion can result from a slip and fall accident, sports activities or car accidents. Significant movement of the brain in any direction can cause you to lose alertness.  How long you remain unconscious may be a sign of severity of the concussions but all concussions don’t involve a loss of consciousness and indeed most people who have a concussion don’t ever “black out.”  In a motor vehicle accident head injuries that result in a concussion are often associated with injury to the neck and spine; especially in rear end auto collision.  Immediately after such a concussion you may be withdrawn, easily upset or confused.

You may have a hard time focusing or concentrating and have headaches.  Certainly young people with a concussion from sports should avoid playing sports until your doctor releases you to return to normal activity.  Some children may need several months before it’s okay to participate again as multiple concussions can lead to severe permanent problems.  Severe concussions can include bleeding in the brain or brain injury that results in permanent physical, emotional or intellectual changes.  The second impact syndrome is when a person gets a second concussions while still having symptoms from the first one. This raises the risk of brain swelling which can be deadly.   These are often seen in sporting events and are more recognized as a risk for football players of all ages.

 

Although concussions are usually caused by a blow to the head they can also occur when the head and upper body are violently shaken.  Often a person who is in an automobile accident can have this type of concussion and not realize it.  Every concussion injures your brain to some extent and these injuries need time and rest to heal properly.  While most concussive traumatic brain injuries are mild and people usually recover fully, a certain percentage do not.

It is the rotational movement of the brain inside the cranium and the shearing forces affecting the upper reticular formation that create torque which leads to the typical loss of consciousness.  These forces cause the brain to move in a swirling fashion and contact the inner prominences of the skull.  Such movement makes the brain bump into the interior of the skull at the point of impact as well as the opposite side of the skull, resulting in contusions (bruises) that damage two sites of the brain.   A concussion involves a host of effects that emerge several hours or days after the trauma.  It is critical that a physician monitor these secondary tissue damages as they are frequently the origin of significant long term effects including brain damage, cognitive deficits, psychosocial/behavioral/emotional changes, and bio mechanical changes at the cellular level.

Concussions and other brain injuries are fairly common.  About every 21 seconds someone in the United States has a serious brain injury and, once again, the most common reasons people get concussions is sports injuries such as in football, boxing and hockey.  This is true even with the use of protective head gear.  The symptoms of a concussion may include:

 

  • Seeing stars;
  • Feeling dazed/dizzy;
  • Memory loss – trouble remembering things that happened right before the injury;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Headaches;
  • Blurred vision and sensitivity to light;
  • Slurred speech and saying things that don’t make sense;
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking or making decisions;
  • Difficulty with coordination or balance;
  • Feeling anxious or irritable; and
  • Feeling fatigued

 

While someone who has a simple concussion usually has these symptoms and are better in 7 to 10 days, some concussions are more complex and people experience persistent symptoms over a long period of time.  During the first few days following a concussion people should rest.  Both physical and cognitive rest are important, and certainly if you have a more complex concussion you must see a brain injury specialist.  The doctor will do a thorough examination of the nervous system and rule out some of the more serious problems which may result, such as bleeding or other issues with the brain.  Certainly if the symptoms last longer than a week the patient may require further testing of thinking, memory and reaction time and other brain functions.

A person who has a concussion and hasn’t recovered within a few months is said to have post-concussion syndrome.  That person may have the same problems described above such as poor memory, headaches, focus issues, and irritability and these can last for a longer period of time and may even become permanent.  Someone who has these kinds of problems continuing after a concussion may also be referred to a rehabilitation specialist for additional help.  www.kidshealth.org>Teens> Staying>Safe  In the more serious cases of post-concussive syndrome a brain subjected to a violent force could be torn, sheared, crushed or displaced and tissue can be destroyed.  It can bleed, swell, and occasionally it might even shut down.  This condition is known as traumatic brain injury.  This type of injury can easily impair the ability to think, do and know.  Memory, mood and attention are the top 3 complaints of brain injury patients.  Often there are personality changes, including rapid mood swings, alternating with waxing and waning energy levels.  The overall effect can be profoundly disabling.For a brain injury checklist see www.headinjury.com/check also www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov>Home> Diseases>And>Conditions

 

If you or  a loved one has suffered a brain injury at the fault of another, you should consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.  Our office has represented hundreds of seriously injured clients ; many of whom required long term care. You can see our website or call for a free consultation at 1-800-636-0808.  We only charge a fee if we recover for your family.

www.indianapolisabogado.com

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William W. Hurst

Bill Hurst has successfully represented hundreds of accident victims, and has limited his practice to personal injury cases for over thirty-five (35) years.


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1 Comment

  1. Craig J Casey says:

    Boston University has a great program studying brains and spinal cords of professional athletes who have have multiple concussions / brain injuries. If you have brain damage, donate your brain so they can study it!