Concussions – even mild ones – can have serious and long-lasting consequences. As we have seen in several high-profile cases, traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, have been linked to a number of lifelong medical problems, including depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and increased risk for stroke. In fact, the suicides of several well-known former football players, including Junior Seau, Dave Deurson and Ray Easterling, have been linked to long-term health problems from concussions.
Moreover, data suggests that even a mild or moderate concussion may have longer-lasting consequences than previously known. According to Safety and Health Magazine, researchers in the United Kingdom studied 44 people with mild concussions, nine with moderate concussions, and 33 participants with no brain injury. All participants took thinking and memory skill tests, as well as an imaging test to show brain cell damage.
Participants with concussions had thinking and memory test scores 25 percent lower than those of healthy people. Although the scores for people with and without concussions were similar one year after the injury, those with brain injuries still showed evidence of brain damage on imaging tests, with clear signs of continued disruption to crucial brain cells. Consequently, researchers concluded that the recovery of thinking skills can take a significant amount of time.
Concussions can be sustained in a number of ways, including auto accidents, bike accidents, fistfights, trip and fall accidents, and sports injuries. The damage from concussions can be exacerbated if a person suffers repeat concussions and athletes are especially susceptible to repeat head injuries. In fact, an athlete who suffers a concussion is up to four times more likely to sustain a second concussion, according to neurologists. When a football player returns to play before he has fully recovered from the initial concussion, the athlete is at serious risk for secondary impact syndrome (SIS), which can result in massive swelling of the brain and, in some cases, may lead to a loss of blood flow to the brain, which can place the athletes at an increased risk for learning difficulties and other neuropsychological difficulties.
Children are also susceptible to repeat head injuries, especially if they do not take the time to heal fully after a concussion. A report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council warns that students who return to play before their brains are fully healed from a concussion run the risk of a second brain injury with potentially “more severe consequences.”
The Chicago head injury attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC focus on representing the victims of head injuries. If you or your child has suffered a concussion or other head injury, do not hesitate to contact one of our skilled Chicago head injury attorneys at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation.