Too many young football players are suffering from recurring concussions. It may not be first apparent after an accident but a concussion can cause continuing brain injury from mild to severe. Presently there is no sure way to definitively diagnose the amount of injury immediately after the impact or its long-term effects. It is of great consequence that Governor Brown just signed into law some preventative measures to help protect our young athletes. We need to set the bar.
We all love to watch football for the physical skills and the strategy of the game, but is the practice of using one’s head as a battering ram worth lifelong damage to the brain?
Medical scientists are making some headway in the diagnosing brain injury in recognition of formerly undiagnosed concussions. Oftentimes, the brain trauma does not become apparent until the symptoms increase or intensify. As we know from the professional football players now coming forward, numerous small and medium concussions show up later in a person’s older years and result in premature dementia known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The brain floats in the skull and if an individual’s head strikes an object, or in the case of a whiplash, the cerebral cortex can be bruised or torn. Even a small tear can cause bleeding. Also when the axons, blood vessels are stretched or torn the damage to the brain can be permanent.
A subdural hematoma, or bleeding in the brain, requires immediate attention by a neurosurgeon and may or may not be diagnosed with an MRI or CT Scan. Symptoms do not always appear at impact and the victim may seem normal until the pressure from the bleeding starts destroying brain cells and unconsciousness occurs. If left undiagnosed, the damage becomes irreversible.
Emergency treatment often is focused on the most obvious injuries or ailments such as cervical injuries or broken bones but it is very important to watch for the signs and symptoms of brain injury that may develop when the person goes home. If these symptoms occur report them to your doctor or depending on the severity, get to a hospital as soon as possible.
As experienced lawyers in brain injury cases, we have represented people that have experienced brain injuries in falls, automobile collisions, motorcycle accidents and blows to the head in various circumstances. We have represented people where they have been rear ended causing their brain to shift back and forth in their head, tearing blood vessels. One person that we represented did not have any visible injuries and was walking and talking at the scene. An hour later while at the hospital with his injured daughter, he suddenly collapsed. He had bleeding in the brain and fortunately he was at Kern Medical Center where a neurosurgeon was on staff and immediately did surgery preventing his death. After years of recovery and the excellent rehabilitation he received at the Centre for Neuro Skills, he is back at work.
The sum and substance is, although we cannot prevent every Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but we may be able to see the symptoms early enough to prevent more damage if possible. Some of the most occurring symptoms to be aware of: dazed and confused, trouble with memory, light-headedness, nausea, headache, vision problems, agitation or behavioral changes, slurred speech, loss of coordination.
*See “Delta V as a Predictor of Significant Injury for Children Involved in Frontal Motor Vehicle Crashes” Annals of Surgery