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What Does a Concussion do to Your Brain?

Concussions are considered mild traumatic brain injuries. Though not typically as severe as other types of brain injuries that occur, individuals must still take concussions seriously. As evidenced by the recent injury and controversy surrounding Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, concussions can lead to serious complications, particularly if individuals do not receive prompt medical treatment. 

How Concussions Happen

Concussions occur in a wide variety of ways. Individuals often hear about concussions happening in children or those who participate in sports. It is certainly true that contact sports players face a heightened risk of concussions when they play. As mentioned above, Tua Tagovailoa certainly brought this back to the forefront of our minds recently. 

However, aside from sports, there are various other ways that concussions occur. This can include falls from a bicycle or skateboard, vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and workplace incidents. Anytime a person sustains a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, they are at risk of having a concussion.

The Effects of a Concussion on the Brain

By definition, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury. When a person sustains that bump or blow to the head or body, this can result in internal movement inside the skull, causing the brain to shift towards the direction of the impact and strike the inside of the skull, leading to bruising of the brain. 

In general, concussions are mild, and individuals usually make a recovery within a few weeks. However, it is important to understand that this is an effect on the brain, and there are risks. Individuals who do not seek prompt medical care after a concussion occurs and those who do not follow the doctor’s orders risk the brain injury becoming more severe. 

The most common concussion symptoms include memory issues right before or right after the initial bump or blow to the head or body, as well as feelings of being dazed or stunned. Concussions can cause dizziness and coordination issues, and sensitivity to light and sound. Those who sustain concussions report headaches or pressure inside their head, nausea and vomiting, and feeling sluggish or groggy.

Doctors usually recommend a period of very limited physical and cognitive activity in order for a person to heal from a concussion. However, if a person continues physical activity, this could slow down the recovery process or even worsen the brain injury.

The worst possible scenario for a person who sustains a concussion is continued vigorous physical activity that could lead to another concussion. Successive concussions have been known to cause significant brain trauma. The CDC states that a person with a history of repeated mild concussions could experience longer recovery times or more severe symptoms with each concussion, and they could have ongoing problems with “concentration, memory, headache, and occasionally, physical skills, such as keeping one’s balance.”

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a disease that has been linked to specific changes in how the brain works, and it can only be diagnosed after death. Research is finding that CTE has been found in many former football players and those who participated in vigorous physical activities during their lifetime.

If you or somebody you love has sustained a concussion, we strongly encourage you to seek medical care, follow your doctor’s orders, and reach out to a Riverside brain injury lawyer.