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What is a concussion, and what are the symptoms?

A concussion can result from just a bump on the head in auto or motorcycle or trucking accidents, falls, and work accidents. It is considered a “mild” traumatic brain injury (TBI). But a concussion’s symptoms and consequences can be anything but mild.

A Wise Doctor Defines Concussion in Terms We Can Easily Understand

The best way I ever heard a concussion defined was by a respected elder doctor in Spartanburg who treated a client of mine. My client got hit by a drunk driver in a car crash and suffered a concussion. The wise doctor painted a vivid picture of a concussion, with some good Southern flair:   

Imagine a peach in a Mason jar filled with water. The peach is your brain. The Mason jar is your skull. The water is your cerebrospinal fluid. Take the ends of the peach jar in each hand and shake it so the peach bounces around in the jar. That’s a concussion.

The Mayo Clinic gives a more clinical description. Basically, the brain will “slide back and forth forcefully against the inner walls of your skull.”

But it’s the peach in the Mason jar that’s always stayed with me.

Know the Risks of Concussions

While sports have given us the playful adage that a concussion victim “got his bell rung,” you’ve got to remember that a concussion is serious. This is a brain injury—a sign of damage to the most vital and delicate organ in the body. Left untreated, a concussion can hide the warning signs of a potentially fatal brain injury.

Medical professionals, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, deem the first 24 hours after a concussion critical in determining whether a potentially devastating, or even fatal, injury exists. Victims need vigilant observation to help detect severe injury.

If you or someone you know shows signs of a concussion, get medical testing before it’s too late.

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, “A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function.” You’ve got to watch out because signs and symptoms may not show immediately. They can last for months. Common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion, feeling like you’re in a fog, or appearing dazed
  • Amnesia (memory loss) about the accident
  • Dizziness, "seeing stars," ringing ears
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed answers to questions
  • Fatigue

To show why there’s no such thing as a “mild” brain injury, the Mayo Clinic advises you to look for delayed symptoms like:

  • Inability to concentrate and remember things
  • Irritability and other personality changes
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression
  • Disorders of taste and smell

If symptoms intensify, get treatment now.

Concussion Side Effects and Complications

Concussion side effects and complications can stretch into the long term, and may include:

  • Post-traumatic headaches. These may start a week or even months afterward.
  • Post-traumatic vertigo. This sickening sense of spinning or dizziness can last for days, weeks, or months after a brain injury.
  • Post-concussion syndrome. This frustrating, crippling condition can last for as long as several months. Symptoms include prolonged dizziness, inability to sleep, depression and anxiety, struggles to think right, and difficulty remembering things. According to the Mayo Clinic, some experts compare this syndrome to depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder. In many cases, chemical reactions to brain trauma and the body’s emotional response contribute to it.  

Concussion Victims Need Extra Legal Protection

Concussion victims can be especially susceptible to insurance companies taking advantage of them in their cases. You don’t have to let that happen to you. If you’ve suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury, call toll free 888-230-1841 for a free meeting to get your questions answered and to safeguard your right to get your medical bills paid and to get financial compensation, which might include extensive future care or lifelong workers’ comp benefits. Don’t let the insurance company take your rights away from you forever!

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg, South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.

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