Concussion Study: Help for Accident Victims

The NCAA and Department of Defense have launched a $30 million effort to study the effects of concussion and head impact. See the story here. Clearly, the push to examine the causes, effects and treatment of head injury came from the tragic stories of soldiers and athletes damaged in combat and competition. But, as with all science, the benefit percolates to the rest of society. For head injuries, that includes people who suffer traumatic brain injury or "TBI" in accidents, including those in vehicles, on the job and in falls.
 
For years, people with lasting effects of head trauma were written off. War veterans were "shell-shocked." Athletes who severely deteriorated in middle age were forgotten and ignored. Mental and physical conditions were attributed to a myriad of other causes. Often, victims of head injury were just called "crazy."
 
In the world of personal injury litigation, attacking the victim is a mantra. Many head injury victims received inadequate (or no) diagnosis or treatment of their condition. They were accused of malingering, which is a fancy way of saying "faking it."
 
This important study reflects increased awareness of the effects of head trauma. Hopefully, it will help many people, including soldiers, veterans, athletes...and regular people who happen to be accident victims.
 
Anyone involved in an accident (and their family members) should be aware of the signs of Traumatic Brain Injury. According to The Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.org), even mild TBI in adults can produce:
 
    •    A state of being dazed, confused or disoriented;
    •    Headache;
    •    Nausea or vomiting;
    •    Fatigue or drowsiness;
    •    Difficulty sleeping;
    •    Sleeping more than usual;
    •    Dizziness or loss of balance;
    •    Blurred vision;
    •    Ringing in the ears;
    •    Changes in taste or smell;
    •    Sensitivity to light or sound;
    •    Memory or concentration problems;
    •    Mood changes or mood swings;
    •    Feeling depressed or anxious.
 
Symptoms are worse in more severe TBI, and they may be different in children. See the Mayo Clinic article here.
 
Anyone who may have a head injury should see a doctor as soon as possible. Even if the person was seen an at emergency room, symptoms may appear days or weeks later. Increased information about TBI is helping all doctors recognize these conditions, but Neurologists are the specialists who focus on treating concussion and TBI. Specialized testing byNeuropsychologists can show damage from TBI. Treatments are available, but only if there is a diagnosis.
 
Lawyers with experience in representing head injury victims can be a resource for finding avenues for diagnosis and treatment of TBI. Regardless of how an injury occurs, it is important to seek care for TBI as soon as the symptoms appear.