If you were recently involved in a car accident here in Fort Collins or Northern Colorado, or if you were involved in any other incident in which you experienced a violent blow to your head, you should pay close attention to signs of traumatic brain injury – specifically, a concussion. Many people suffer concussions in accidents. However, because they do not know how to recognize the symptoms, they may not realize the serious harm they have suffered.
For this reason, you should know and understand common signs of a concussion. It will help you to get timely medical attention as well as legal assistance, should you need to file a personal injury suit.
What Is a Concussion?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). It typically occurs as a result of “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth,” the CDC states. The trauma can cause changes in the brain and damage to brain cells.
Concussions are highly common. In fact, National Public Radio reports that nearly 25 percent of all Americans say that they have suffered a concussion, with the majority of those head injury victims under the age of 34.
Concussions usually are not immediately life-threatening injuries. Still, they can cause both short-term and long-term disabilities. Additionally, Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center suggests that concussions may also lead to serious physical and emotional problems and possibly death many years after the initial blow.
General Signs and Symptoms of Concussions
Generally, symptoms of concussions vary between adults and children. The signs can also vary depending on the seriousness of the concussion. The CDC explains that adults and children typically show signs of a concussion that fall into four categories:
- Thinking and remembering – Signs can include difficulty with thinking clearly, concentrating and remembering new information. A person may simply feel as if they are “slowing down.”
- Physical problems – Headaches, blurry vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, light sensitivity, balance issues, feeling tired and feeling a lack of energy may all be signs of a concussion.
- Issues with emotions and mood – Concussion victims commonly feel irritable, depressed, anxious and more emotional than usual.
- Sleep problems – Difficulty falling asleep, sleeping less than usual and sleeping more than usual are also indicators of a possible concussion.
Sometimes, a person who has experienced a concussion recognizes the signs. However, it is often other family members who notice the shifts in mood and problems with thinking and remembering. So, if your loved one recently was involved in a car crash or other accident, you should pay close attention to signs of a concussion as well.
Danger Signs of a Concussion in Adults
Signs of life-threatening complications from a concussion can include any of the following, according to the CDC:
- Headache that will not go away or grows worse
- Decreased coordination
- Repeated vomiting and nausea
- Slurring speech
- Appearing extremely drowsy
- Inability to wake up
- Different-sized pupils in the eyes
- Convulsions or seizures
- Difficulty recognizing people or places
- Increased confusion, restlessness and/or agitation
- Loss of consciousness
- Unusual behavior.
It is not worth taking a risk if any of the signs above are present after a jolt or a blow to the head. For instance, you may have a blood clot that could cause death if you leave it untreated. The bottom line: Seek medical attention right away if you think that you may have a concussion.
Danger Signs of a Concussion in Children
When children suffer a concussion, they may show many of the same danger signs listed above. However, young children can have difficulty articulating pain and other physical sensations. Their inability to communicate about their symptoms makes it difficult for parents or guardians to determine whether there is a need to rush to the emergency room.
In addition to being on the lookout for the same signs that indicate a concussion in an adult, you should also focus on whether your child:
- Will not stop crying.
- Acts inconsolable.
- Refuses to eat (or nurse if the child is a newborn).
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), concussions can occur at any age in childhood. However, they are particularly common injuries among children who have been involved in car accidents or play contact sports such as football or soccer.
How Long Can You Have Symptoms of a Concussion?
Concussions are complex injuries. Signs and symptoms can take anywhere from a few moments to appear up to several months after the victim sustains the injury. Given that concussion symptoms can be difficult to identify, it is important for people to speak up if they notice any of the general signs of a concussion in a family member or a friend who recently sustained a blow or jolt to the head. The sooner a concussion is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
Should You Seek Legal Assistance After a Concussion?
If you believe that you or a loved one suffered a concussion in an accident that another person caused, you should seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer without delay. A personal injury attorney can review the facts of your case and help you to pursue all compensation you are due.
To learn more, contact Steve Ray Law, PLLC. Our law firm serves clients in Fort Collins and throughout Northern Colorado. We can provide a free and confidential consultation about your case today.