Concussions, often referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs), can occur as a result of various accidents but are particularly common in pedestrian/car accidents, recreational accidents, and sports. While the term “concussion” may imply a minor injury, the reality is far more complex, as these injuries can have profound implications for an individual’s health, well-being, and even their legal rights.

This blog will explore the intricate landscape of concussion injuries within the context of personal injury cases, including accidents, sports and recreational accidents. 

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain moves inside the skull and results in temporary changes to brain function. As such, a concussion can impact your memory, balance, mood, coordination and concentration. 

Common Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Concussions can cause a variety of symptoms and may vary between individuals. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms after a vehicle, recreational, or sporting accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention and evaluation as soon as possible:

  • Headache;
  • Nausea;
  • Dizziness;
  • Concentration issues;
  • Slurred speech;
  • Light or sound sensitivity;
  • Vision abnormalities; 
  • Amnesia (i.e. memory loss); and/or
  • Sleep disturbance.

Understanding the Causes and Effects of a Concussion

Contrary to the common misconception, a direct blow to the head is not the only cause of a concussion. Rather, a concussion can be caused by any rapid back-and-forth movement of the head and upper body, as the brain is a sensitive organ easily susceptible to injury. For example, a whiplash injury may cause your head and brain to shake, which can result in a concussion. 

It is also important to be aware that concussions, unlike more visible injuries, such as broken bones or lacerations, may not be immediately apparent and may develop over time. Symptoms can manifest for days or weeks after the initial trauma. Even a seemingly minor blow to the head can lead to significant physiological and neurological changes, affecting cognitive impairment and emotional disturbances. 

Post-Concussion Syndrome

While many individuals recover fully from mild concussions with proper medical attention, treatment and rest, some may experience persistent symptoms or develop complications over time. If your concussion symptoms last for several weeks beyond the initial head injury, this is known as post-concussion syndrome. These lingering effects can profoundly affect your quality of life, employment prospects, and overall well-being.

Diagnosing and Treating a Concussion

Several grading systems exist to diagnose concussions, including the Colorado Medical Society Guidelines, the Cantu Grading System, and the American Academy of Neurology Guidelines. These guidelines emphasize that accurate concussion diagnosis requires substantial medical expertise and is not to be undertaken casually. 

Diagnosing a concussion can involve a variety of challenges, such as delayed symptoms or focused attention on other physical injuries. Therefore, to diagnose a concussion, a doctor must conduct comprehensive neurological and cognitive tests and must have a detailed knowledge of an individual’s symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis and identify the effects of the concussion. As such, it is important to document all possible signs and symptoms of a concussion immediately following an accident.

Treating a concussion and post-concussion syndrome can take time and may not be a linear recovery progression. Initial concussion symptom treatment requires a lot of rest, mitigating light and sound stimuli, and limiting physical activity. 

Proactive Protection in Sports and Recreational Activities

Although concussions are common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and slips and falls, concussions can occur as a result of many other incidents. For example, recreational activities and sports, even non-contact ones, generally carry inherent risks. Sports such as hockey and skiing or engaging in recreational activities, such as riding ATVs or dirt bikes, expose participants to potential accidents in various ways. Aside from being a source of joy and adrenaline, these activities can sometimes result in sudden impacts, falls, or collisions, sometimes resulting from the negligence or recklessness of others. 

Education surrounding traumatic brain injuries and proactive actions can help mitigate the likelihood of a concussion occurring. For example, wearing an appropriate helmet when cycling, skateboarding, or snowboarding can help reduce the risk of injury in the event of an accident. This is particularly important for children. However, unforeseen incidents and serious injuries can still occur despite wearing adequate head protection. As such, taking care of yourself while participating in sports and recreational activities and taking steps to protect yourself is important. 

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?

In personal injury cases, proving that another party’s negligence or actions directly led to the injury can be obscured by factors such as pre-existing conditions, multiple impacts to the head, or the inherent risks associated with certain activities. Therefore, it is important to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can ensure that you recover the compensation you are entitled to following a traumatic brain injury as a result of another’s negligence.

It is also important to note that a concussion is not considered a minor injury, regardless of severity. Given that a concussion may be viewed as an “invisible injury” since it does not show up in imaging or other tests like a physical injury does, personal injury cases involving a concussion rely heavily on medical reports and patient self-reporting. A skilled personal injury lawyer will ensure that your concussion is not viewed with such skepticism and will compile the required medical and self-reported evidence to support your injury claims. 

Contact the Calgary Injury Lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie if You Have Been Injured in a Recreational or Sporting Accident

The trusted personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie know that dealing with a concussion or other traumatic brain injury can be an overwhelming and frustrating process, particularly if your injury is the result of another’s negligence. If you or a loved one has sustained a concussion due to a car accident, slip and fall accident, or recreational accident, it is important to seek legal advice to ensure your interests are protected. We will manage your claim to allow you the time to prioritize rest and recovery, while advising you on your rights and options regarding your injury claim. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our personal injury team, please contact us online or call us at 403-571-0555.