Closed Head Injury, Concussion, and Mild TBI

Earlier this week, we looked at NCAA concussion lawsuits, in which the college athletic association is being sued for allegedly failing to protect and inform student-athletes about the dangers of concussions. Though many people soon recover from a concussion, it is now known that even a mild traumatic brain injury can have lasting effects on cognition.

The most commonly occurring brain injury, a concussion is a type of closed head injury, an injury in which the brain is not breached by bone fragments or other foreign objects. In a concussion, the brain suffers temporary dysfunction caused by a sharp blow, violent shaking, or other forceful impact. Common causes of concussion include automobile accidents, falls, and high-impact sports such as football.  In fact, nearly half of the 600,000 concussions reported each year are attributed to sports.

After a concussion, normal brain functions, such as memory, thinking, and consciousness, are temporarily disrupted. Symptoms of concussion may appear immediately upon injury or in the days and weeks following the injury:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Pupil dilation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vision changes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Convulsions
  • Mood changes
  • Sleep disruption

Any head injury should be carefully evaluated by medical professionals to check for concussion. Unlike other injuries, which generally begin to heal, traumatic brain injuries are often complicated by secondary injuries, such as swelling (edema) and increased intracranial pressure (ICP). These secondary injuries can cause restricted blood flow (ischemia) and insufficient oxygen (hypoxia) to the brain, leading to permanent brain damage if not quickly and appropriately treated.

Concussion is only one type of closed head injury. Other types of injury caused by a blow to the head or acceleration/deceleration forces include brain contusion (bruising), diffuse axonal shearing (permanent nerve damage), and intracranial hematoma (blood clots). These injuries may be severe and potentially fatal. Survivors of a severe TBI may be left with permanent cognitive, motor, and emotional disabilities. Long term effects of TBI include:

  • Memory loss
  • Impaired thinking
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty processing information
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of hearing
  • Paralysis
  • Spasticity
  • Depression
  • Impulsivity
  • Aggression
  • Mood disorders

Motor vehicle accidents and falls are the cause of most traumatic brain injuries. Sports and assaults are also frequent causes of TBI. If you suffer a preventable TBI as a result of another's negligence or malice, you may be entitled to compensation from those liable for your injuries. Click here to find a brain injury lawyer in Oklahoma who can help you with your claim.