If your child, family member, or partner suffers a blow to the head but they have no concussion symptoms—did they get off lucky? A study from Boston University (BU) supports a developing discussion about pathology caused by brain trauma—not by concussions.
For professional athletes, risk of neurological impairment at early, mid, or late life is often assessed by the number of concussions suffered on the playing field. But ongoing research, including studies developed by BU, are finding that it is not just concussion you have to avoid—but head hits altogether.
How does that work?
When the head is struck or subjected to force, such as in an automobile accident, the soft brain can be thrown against the interior of the protective skull. When the force subsides, the brain can slap into the back of the skull on the return. This shifting, impact and stretching of neuronal tissue can cause serious damage, impairment, and disability.
When the traumatic force subsides, injured brain tissue can swell, bleed, and expand. Irreversible brain damage can follow and sometimes even death.
The dangers of concussion are known and considered to be the canary in the coalmine of traumatic brain injury (TBI). But an injury to the brain can occur in the absence of concussion. One example is the type of brain injury suffered by clients of our law firm. Brain hypoxia occurs when patients suffer a loss of oxygen to the brain during surgery or even childbirth. Though the head was not struck, the damage is permanent.
For those who suffer a head injury—but no concussion—the long term consequences of the event may not be on the radar. Yet, neurological damage caused by a no-concussion event can cause cognitive changes for lifetime. These changes occur when a strike to the head results in minor inflammation in the brain that leaks chemicals into nearby regions of the brain, causing more inflammation.
Chemical proteins moving into adjacent brain tissue can quietly disrupt electrical signaling in the brain, leading to changes in mood, memory, and learning capability—for life.
Watching out for the brain
Throughout the United States awareness of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has raised concern for athletes of all ages. CTE occurs when those leaky chemical proteins build up around blood vessels in the brain.
Nationwide, parents are choosing to pull their children from youth football programs, or going with programs that have less impact. Football Canada, the agency that runs youth football programs in our neighbor to the North, recently revised its rules of play to prohibit children ages eight or younger from playing tackle football.
While revising rules of play is important, it takes only one hit, or oxygen insult to the brain to create the need for a lifetime of personal and medical care. If you suffer a serious brain injury, consider speaking with an experienced injury attorney about your injury.
Knowledgeable injury attorneys in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Our firm works with injured patients and parties throughout the US to achieve justice and obtain needed financial and other resources after injury. From offices in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, we serve local clients and those across the nation. Contact us today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.