Many people don’t understand what concussions are, and how serious they can be. There are common misconceptions about concussions which need to be discussed.
The purpose of this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog post from Brian Goldfinger is to better understand what concussions are, how they arise, how to deal with them, and how a concussion can impact ones life.
Please keep in mind that this Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog post is prepared by a personal injury lawyer in Brian Goldfinger. Brian Goldfinger is NOT a medical doctor. This entry is NOT intended to provide medical or legal advice for that matter. If you need medical advice, please consult with your doctor, attend at hospital or your local walk in clinic.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that impacts your functioning. The effects of concussions can be short lasting, or can have life long consequences.
How do you get a concussion?
Concussions are usually causing by bumping your head, or trauma to your head. They can however also be caused why whiplash where your head shakes violently, suddenly and with great force in one direction causing your brain to hit the inside of your skull.
Our personal injury lawyers frequently see concussions in:
- motor vehicle accidents
- bicycle/motorcycle accidents
- pedestrian knockdown cases
- slip and falls
- violent assault claims
- sport injuries
How can I prevent concussion?
That’s a difficult question. The simple answer is not to sustain trauma to your head. But, accidents happen.
There are certain safety protocols which you can control to perhaps prevent serious injury or concussion. For cyclists, preventing concussion can be as simple as wearing a helmet when riding your bike. The same applies with sporting accidents such as skiing, skating, rollerblading, etc. Helmets will help in preventing injury.
Basic safety tips for motorists need to be followed. Wearing a seat belt and ensure that the head rest is at a proper height may prevent concussion as well.
What are the symptoms or effects of sustaining a concussion?
The initial signs that someone has sustained a concussion may be hard to detect. The symptoms or injuries can last for a short period of time, or much longer depending on the severity of the concussion along with whether or not the person had sustained any previous concussions.
Some of the signs/symptoms and injuries which Brian Goldfinger has seen include but aren’t limited to:
- light sensitivity
- noise sensitivity
- ringing in ears
- blurred vision
- decreased appetite
- slurring your words
- being confused
- loss of memory
- slow to respond to questions or other queues
Those symptoms may progress, or may develop in to longer lasting injuries which are synonymous with brain injury. This injuries include but aren’t limited to:
- mood disorder
- temper/rage/problems with emotional regulation
- poor memory
- poor sleep
- poor concentration
- problems with taste or smell
- lack in interest
What can I do to get better after sustaining a concussion?
Brian Goldfinger has not seen one clear cut answer to this question. Not is there one magic pill to make everything better.
The most obvious answer is to see your doctor and to report your concussions symptoms to him/her.
If you don’t report your concussion symptoms to your doctor, s/he won’t know what you’re going through and won’t be able to help you properly. Your doctor does NOT have mind reading powers. Your depression, memory loss, poor sleep etc. won’t show up on any x-ray, CT scan, MRI or ultrasound. These are your subjective symptoms which you NEED to report. Failure to do so will result in your doctor not understanding what you are going through and accordingly; they won’t be able to help you as much as they can.
Doctors will often tell their patients who have sustained concussions to rest and to take time off work. But, the course of treatment which doctors offer vary. There are specialized brain and concussion doctors who your family doctor can refer you to as well. There are medications which your doctor can prescribe for certain symptoms/injuries too.
Concussion Stigma Explored
Many concussions don’t show up on any x-rays, CT Scans or MRI tests. After you sustain a concussion, you won’t likely walk around for months with a giant bandaid or bandage on your head. People with concussions don’t walk around with a giant sign on their chest indicating to the world that they are dealing with the effects of a concussion.
Concussions are invisible and silent killers. Nobody will know that you are dealing with the effects of brain injury or concussion unless you share that information with them.
It’s for that very reason that there is a negative stigma around concussion and brain injury for that matter. People think that the accident victim must be lying, faking, or exaggerating their symptoms/injuries. Perhaps those injuries existed before the traumatic event. Insurers are constantly trying to exploit these angles to downplay the effects of concussions and brain injury.
Raising awareness in the community is an important start towards ending that concussion stigma.
Brian Goldfinger will conclude this instalment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog post by sharing one last story about concussion.
Sidney Crosby has been the best active hockey player on the planet over the past decade. But Sidney Crosby needed to miss over a year of playing while at the height of his powers on account of sustaining a concussion in an NHL game.
Junior Seau was a the greatest defensive player in the NFL for a period of time. He committed suicide. An autopsy of his brain showed that he has sustained CTE as a result of sustaining one too many bumps to his head. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative disease found in people who have had multiple head injuries. Symptoms may include behavioral problems, mood problems, and problems with thinking.
If these terrible things can happen to highly tuned professional athletes who wear helmets when they played their respective sports, imagine the impact concussion and brain injury can happen on your ordinary individual, who is hit unprotected by a helmet by a motor vehicle.