Concussion – Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Concussions or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) impact millions of individuals every year. But because of new technology we are learning more and more about this devastating injury.

If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion due to the fault of another, contact us (415) 293-8231, we can help. 

A concussion or MTBI is a type of traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a number of factors: trauma, whiplash, or even a sudden jolt, essentially, anything that can alter the way in which the brain functions is sufficient to cause a concussion including a sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head.

We have put together this page of information to better inform and educate individuals and their families about MTBI.

The information presented can also be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website dedicated to concussions.

At the bottom of the page you will find additional links to organizations and associations that are dedicated to helping injury victims who have suffered a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury.

What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion or MTBI?

The signs and symptoms of a concussion fall into several categories: cognitive, or thinking and remembering, physical, emotional, and sleep issues.

  • Cognitive – these symptoms can include difficulty remembering new information or long-term memory problems, concentrating, feeling slow or fuzzy-headed.
  • Physical – the physical symptoms of an MTBI can range from generally feeling tired or run down to nausea or vomiting (especially shortly after the accident or concussion causing event). But generally these symptoms include having no energy, balance problems, a sensitivity to light or noise, dizziness, blurry vision, or headaches.
  • Emotional – symptoms caused by a concussion in this category include irritability, anxiety, feeling sad or generally more emotional.
  • Sleep issues – a mild traumatic brain injury often causes sleep disturbances that include trouble falling asleep or sleeping less or more than normal.

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered a concussion you should seek medical care and attention as quickly as possible. But there are some danger signs that may necessitate immediate emergency care.

For instance, if someone suspects that they have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and is experiencing slurred speech, nausea or repeated vomiting, or a headache that gets worse and will not dissipate, or if the injury victim loses consciousness, has convulsions or seizures, exhibits unusual behavior, or if one pupil appears larger than the other, or becomes more and more confused or drowsy and cannot be awakened.

What should someone do once a concussion has occurred?

When someone suspects that they have suffered a concussion or MTBI they should seek medical care from a health care professional. Once the injury has been diagnosed and initial treatment rendered a neurologist or neuropsychologist may be needed as well as various specialist in rehabilitation.

Once you are seen by the appropriate health care professional neuropsychological tests like a neurocognitive test may be performed in order to asses an individuals deficits, future needs, and the overall impact of the concussion on their cognitive abilities.

Rest is extremely important after sustaining a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. This is not the type of injury that can be ignored or a situation where one can simply “tough” it out. The CDC makes specific recommendations for adults and children who have suffered a concussion.

For adults: avoid flying or long car travel, get adequate rest during both the night and day, avoid activities that are mentally or physically challenging, don’t drink alcohol or use any drugs unless cleared by your doctor or physician.

Use a notebook or pad to write down things that you have difficulty with or questions that you have for your doctor or health care professionals. Use this pad to write down important dates, other items, and appointments as you may experience memory difficulties as you recover.

Further, make sure you record whether or not you are have more or less difficulty with concentration, memory, and other metal tasks as time continues. This information will be useful and important for you health care providers.

If you are supervising a child make sure that the child gets plenty of rest and avoids any high-risk activities, such as biking or playing sports or any other activity where the child could suffer another blow or bump to the head or a sudden jolt. Make sure that you speak with the child’s health care professional which activities are appropriate and what steps need to be taken during the child’s recovery.

And make sure that you let the parents’ of your child’s playmates know about her injury. Also make sure that teachers, siblings, babysitters or other supervisors are fully aware of the injury and any limitations as well.

What about preventing concussions in the future?

The chances of sustaining a head injury, mild traumatic brain injury or concussion can be reduced substantially by following a few simple steps and suggestions.

  • Buckle up. Wear your set belt when driving or riding in any vehicle and make sure any child that is with you is buckled up as well. Also, make sure that children are in age and weight appropriate restraint systems.
  • Wear a helmet. If you are biking or participating in any activity where a helmet is available, use it.
  • Keep walkways clear of items that could cause you to fall.
  • Stay physically fit.
  • And look for shock absorbing surfaces for your children to play on.

Where are there other resources about concussions, head injuries, or mild traumatic brain injury?

CDC has an excellent webpage dedicated to concussions that can be found here. And for more information on statistics, causes, outcome, and prevention of MTBI click here.

And here is a link to the American Brain Injury Association.