A concussion injury can produce some severe physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. You will likely experience chronic headaches, confusion, and other problems. You may need extended rest and light duties until your brain heals.
But despite the disruption a concussion can cause to your life, you will not die from it. Most concussions heal on their own over a couple of months.
Read on to learn about the causes and effects of a concussion injury.
What is the Structure of Your Brain?
Your brain sits inside your skull and floats in a pool of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). When your body accelerates or decelerates quickly, the CSF cushions your brain and prevents it from hitting the inside of your skull. Thus, when you turn your head rapidly, the CSF slows the motion of your brain so it rotates gently.
The CSF accomplishes this because it has a viscosity slightly thicker than water. So, like the resistance of water slows down a boat, the resistance of the CSF slows down your brain.
Your brain is made up of neurons. These nerve cells store memories and form complex thoughts. They communicate with each other using charged molecules. This allows different parts of your brain to communicate immediately. It also allows your brain to control your body and receive sensory information from your senses almost instantly.
What is a Concussion Injury?
According to the laws of physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When your brain pushes against the CSF to slow its motion, the CSF pushes back on the brain. Under the extreme forces you experience in an accident, the pressure of the CSF on the brain can damage or destroy brain cells.
The pressure can also damage small blood vessels in the brain. Damaged blood vessels cannot deliver oxygen to the brain cells, leading to more dead or damaged brain cells. And the leaking blood can increase the pressure on the brain, leading to more brain damage.
When neurons get damaged or destroyed, your brain can misfire or short circuit. Additionally, dead and dying brain cells release their contents into your bloodstream. These chemicals trigger an immune response from your body, creating swelling and inflammation to trap bacteria and immune cells near the damaged cells.
Even though you probably have no bacteria in your brain, your body still triggers an inflammatory response. It raises the temperature near the swollen area to kill any trapped bacteria. Unfortunately, heat also affects the brain cells and causes them to misfire further.
The result of all these changes in your brain will cause a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.
How Does a Concussion Injury Happen?
Concussions usually result from one of three mechanisms:
A blow to the head can cause the brain to slosh in the CSF. The blow itself might not result in an impact felt in the brain, but it might accelerate your skull, leading to the CSF pushing on the brain.
For example, if you slip and fall in a puddle at the grocery store, you might bump the back of your head on the ground. When your head hits the ground and stops moving, your brain accelerates toward the back of your skull. The CSF slows the movement of your brain but may cause a concussion in doing so.
When your head rapidly accelerates or decelerates, your brain will move through the CSF. Even if you do not bump your head, the whipping motion of your head could generate enough pressure on the brain to cause a concussion.
Car accidents involve exactly the whipping motion that can cause a concussion. When you collide with another car, your body wants to keep moving at the same speed in the same direction as before the collision.
Your body hits the seat belt, but your head keeps swinging forward. When your neck stops your head, the CSF takes over to stop your brain. The pressure on your brain to stop it can cause a concussion even though you did not hit your head.
An explosion produces a blast wave of pressurized air. The pressure can squeeze your head and your CSF. The pressurized CSF squeezes your brain, producing a concussion.
Blast-related concussions often happen in combat. But they can also occur in workers in construction, demolition, and mining. If workers remain too close during blasting operations or a blasting accident occurs, anyone hit by the pressure wave could sustain a concussion injury.
What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion Injury?
A concussion injury can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Dizziness and nausea
- Ringing ears
- Blurry vision
The symptoms you experience immediately after a concussion could change as your brain continues to inflame and swell.
Some other symptoms you might develop after a concussion include:
- Emotional outbursts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Brain fog
- Personality changes
Concussion symptoms usually clear up within two months after the injury. If the symptoms last longer than that, your doctor might diagnose you with post-concussion syndrome (PCS). Doctors do not know what causes PCS, but some theorize that it might accompany post-traumatic stress disorder.
What Compensation Can You Receive for a Concussion Injury?
You can get injury compensation for a concussion that resulted from the negligence of others. To get compensation, you will need to prove that the other party failed to exercise reasonable care.
For example, if you got a concussion in a car accident, you need to show that the other driver acted carelessly in causing the crash.
If you can prove negligence, you can recover your medical expenses, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses. You can also get non-economic damages for pain, mental anguish, reduction in the enjoyment of life, and inability to participate in activities.
Until the symptoms dissipate, your concussion injury might require significant treatment, physical and mental therapy, and medication. You might even need to quit working or take light duty until you recover.
To discuss the compensation you can obtain for these losses due to your concussion injury, contact an experienced Los Angeles brain injury attorney at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.