Mild brain injuries can progress to chronic health problems as people age. In fact, approximately 15% of people with mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) continue to experience debilitating injuries later on in life.
Concussions May Have Life-Long Consequences
Concussions are the most common form of mild brain injury, affecting more than 42 million people each year. They are commonly seen in professional athletes and children who play contact sports, members of the military, and victims of car accidents, falls, or violent assaults. Although the short-term effects of concussions are well-known, the long-term effects continue to be studied by medical researchers and brain injury experts.
Concussions alter the brain’s structure and activity. A person who suffers a concussion may notice symptoms that impact physical skills, cognitive functions, emotions and mood, and sleep. In most people, symptoms occur within the first 7 to 10 days after injury and go away within three months. In some cases, symptoms may persist for years. Common symptoms of a concussion include:
- Headaches and/or pressure in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Double or blurred vision
- Mental confusion
- Memory loss
A brain injury lawyer often sees cases where severe concussions are connected to high-contact sports such as football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. Adults and children who play sports have a higher risk of head injuries.
When a concussion occurs, immediate symptoms usually fade as the injury heals. However, long-term effects may not surface until years later. A person who suffers a concussion while young may show evidence of neurodegenerative conditions in later years. Medical research shows that the frontal and temporal lobes in the brain are especially vulnerable to age-based changes connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive and fatal brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head or traumatic brain injuries.
Multiple Head Injuries Have More Impact
Research also shows that people who suffer multiple head injuries and concussions are at higher risk of long-term brain damage. Brain imaging in such patients shows more noticeable levels of white matter damage in frontal lobes, temporal lobes, and hippocampus that does not change with time. Atrophy of the temporal lobes and loss of brain tissue is also present. A severe TBI can impact many aspects of a person’s life and result in amnesia, coma, a shorter lifespan, and death. Brain injury lawyers handle personal injury cases where victims of car crashes suffer severe concussions that result in life-long injuries and disabilities.