Long-term Effects of Head Injuries, Concussions, Traumatic Brain Injury

posted in Head and Brain Injuries, by Claude Wyle, on February 26, 2013

As a San Francisco Brain Injury Attorney, I like to stay up to date on the latest research on brain injury and recovery, specifically concussions and Tramatic Brain Injury. This not only helps me, but also my clients who too benefit from the up-to-date information on brain injury topics.

Brain injuries whether mild or moderate or severe can be catastrophic and have short and long-term symptoms, namely confusion, dizziness, memory loss, loss of consciousness or seizures. Post-concussion syndrome is increasingly becoming recognized as a serious health concern in the U.S.

The long-term effects following severe Traumatic Brain Injury or even mild concussions, however, are not as well known. And the friends and loved ones of the injured tend to overlook the past connections as well. Often head injury symptoms are forgotten or disregarded, and somehow not associated with a head injury which happened months or years ago.

Concussions are serious injuries. The good news is that doctors and athletic trainers have an arsenal of tests athletes must pass before they can play sports, including a new computerized screening that looks at the brain functioning.

Recently, research has focused on the repeated injury to the brain, where a more serious second head injury happens before a first injury has fully recovered (a.k.a., Second Impact Syndrome). Roughly 50% of those second impact cases prove fatal. Having said that, even when a brain has apparently fully recovered, the risk of permanent damage from a second concussion greatly increases.

“A concussion is a brain injury,” says Macon neurosurgeon Dr. Kevin Stevenson. “It’s not one you can see like a twisted ankle or a big bruise, but it is an injury.”

Concussions can be cumulative over a lifetime. A younger person getting multiple concussions may suffer from poor school performance, the inability to get the best jobs or get into preferred colleges.

Brain injuries affect the injured person both mentally and physically and often also emotionally.

Athletic Trainer Tee Spinks with Piedmont Orthopedics says, “Sleep patterns are disturbed, and when sleep patterns are disturbed, the brain doesn’t have time to heal properly. If this persists for so long, it becomes an emotional issue, depression. Depression is a sign of concussion if it sustains and lasts for a long period of time.”

Lack of education about the severity of brain injuries is a prevalent issue that I see day to day. I hope that this article and my other head and brain injury posts will help to educate the public and therefore lead to more understanding and less frustration about head injuries.