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Just a Bump to the Head? Traumatic Brain Injury May Have Long-Term Effects

Any time you receive a bump to the head, you could also receive a concussion. A concussion, or more accurately, a mild traumatic brain injury, occurs when the head is subjected to some type of force or impact that causes the brain to strike the interior of the skull.

There is much variability in the type of accident or impact that can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI), ranging from falling down and striking one’s head to car accidents and sports injuries to the injuries suffered by military service personnel when explosions occur nearby.

Because the impact may result in no external injuries, it can sometimes be difficult to determine the extent of the injuries caused by a traumatic brain injury. An injured person may appear entirely normal after the incident, and even if they lost consciousness, it is often assumed there is no long-term damage.

New Study Indicates Long-Term Effect for MTBI

A recent New York Times article discussed a new study from the University of Oklahoma of post-concussive behavior of veterans who had been treated for traumatic brain injury during their deployment. The study looked at 500 veterans in a four-year period.

The conclusions were sobering; the effects of a concussion, like dizziness and headaches, which were thought to fade with time, do not improve with the passage of time. The study found that veterans whose traumatic brain injuries had occurred up to eight years before the screening showed no improvement.

Post-Concussive Syndrome

The symptoms of post-concussive syndrome include headaches, dizziness, lack of coordination, difficulty with decision-making, and depression. Dr. James Couch, lead author of the study, noted to the Times, “closed-head injuries could be particularly insidious because the veterans look normal but are experiencing pain or cognitive problems that can completely disrupt their lives.”

For those whose TBI is not a result of military service in Iraq and Afghanistan, the study is nonetheless significant. Doctors had long assumed that mild traumatic brain injuries improved over time. This study suggests they can in fact become worse.

If you were injured in a car accident, suffered what seemed like a mild concussion, but perhaps blacked out for a short time, you may think that any residual affects you feel, that the headache that is slow in going away, moments of dizziness, increased confusion, are transitory and will eventually fade away completely.

Long-Term Disruption

What happens if they don’t? As Dr. Couch noted, these symptoms can “completely disrupt their lives.” When you have suffered a head injury or concussion in an accident, you need to make sure you do not minimize any of your symptoms to your doctor and your attorney. Symptoms that may seem minor may be a sign of serious traumatic brain injury.

You need a long-term care plan that encompasses all of the injuries you have suffered to ensure you receive sufficient compensation to provide for what may become years of treatment.

Date: May 17, 2014

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