Pursuing Justice on Your Behalf

Understanding Concussion Severity

Man with bandaged head wincing in pain

Concussions are the most common type of trauma-induced brain injury. Professional athletes alone collectively suffer nearly four million concussions per year. Nearly 155 Americans die from traumatic brain injuries each day. With so much on the line, it’s critical we all understand the severity of concussions.

Causes of Concussions

A concussion occurs when outside trauma causes your brain to bounce inside your skull. In a more severe concussion, the brain may actually impact with the skull. An extreme concussion may result in a brain bleed or a long-term neurological condition, which is why victims should seek immediate medical attention after any head injury.

Any blow to the head can cause a concussion. The majority of adult concussions come from falls. However, auto collisions, falling objects, and contact sports are also common causes. Boxing and American football have an especially high risk of traumatic brain injuries.

Types of Concussions

Modern medicine divides concussions into three categories based on their severity. Some of these are minor and subside within a few minutes. Others may invite long-term complications.

Grade 1 (Mild Concussion)

Mild concussions typically last 15 minutes or less. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, confusion, dizziness, and vomiting. While vomiting is often associated with more severe trauma-induced brain injuries, it could be caused by nausea, rather than structural damage.

Victims may experience short-term memory loss lasting less than 30 minutes. Mild concussions are not severe enough to cause unconsciousness. Sports medicine specialists often allow athletes to return to their activities if all symptoms subside within 15 minutes.

Grade 2 (Moderate Concussion)

Symptoms of a moderate concussion are quite similar to Grade 1 injuries. However, Grade 2 concussions last more than 15 minutes. This type of injury warrants more immediate attention, including regular follow-ups and a CT scan within a day or two of the incident.

Athletes who suffer a moderate concussion are often removed from play for at least one week, sometimes two. The same applies to anyone who experiences a moderate concussion from a slip and fall or a car accident. It’s important to avoid any further head injuries, be they a bump or a blow until the brain fully recovers.

Grade 3 (Severe Concussion)

A severe concussion is characterized by any loss of consciousness, from under thirty seconds to a minute. Other symptoms of a Grade 3 concussion are the same. However, these symptoms often last a day or more. Additionally, a severe concussion may be the cause of a more severe brain injury.

Severe concussions require emergency medical attention. A brain bleed is more likely, and in some cases, the brain twists inside the skull. These types of injuries are often associated with long-term memory loss, including amnesia. Recovery for a severe concussion may require a month of rest. Most athletes are suspended for the season after a Grade 3 concussion.

Long-term Consequences

A one-time, mild concussion is usually nothing to worry about. There’s almost no additional risk if symptoms subsided within 15 minutes and the victim is not prone to additional head injuries. However, repeated head injuries create additional long-term risk. One study suggests that a history of concussions slows a victim’s recovery time for future traumatic brain injuries.

Someone who suffered multiple Grade 2 concussions over their lifetime, may take more than a week to recover from the next. Moreover, there’s significant evidence to suggest that multiple, repetitive head injuries (especially those caused by contact sports) dramatically increase a person’s risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a severe neurodegenerative disease that can worsen into dementia.

If you or someone you love suffered a serious brain injury because of someone else’s actions or negligence, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced attorney from the Berthold Firm to evaluate your claim, don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (304) 605-2040.

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