What Are Long-Term Effects Of Concussions?
A lot of attention has been focused on concussions in recent years, particularly when it comes to athletes involved in contact sports. The attention is warranted, given the severity of this injury and the possible ramifications, it can have on one’s health, which can be even more serious if an individual continues to sustain more concussions in the future, or if they are not treated appropriately.
The Long-Term Consequences of a Concussion
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), damage to the brain caused by a concussion can last for decades after the original head trauma. For non-athletes, the chances of full recovery within 6 weeks is more likely, though it depends on the severity of the injury and several other health factors pertaining to the individual’s specific set of circumstances. Athletes, however, are not usually given adequate time to fully heal and often put themselves at risk for subsequent concussions as they continue to engage in the activity that resulted in their initial concussion.
While the NFL has experienced the brunt of recent criticism, even non-professional athletes are at risk for long-term health consequences caused by concussions. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a brain disease linked to repeated concussions. This condition occurs when an abnormal build-up of a specific protein, known as tau, spills out of the brain’s cells due to blunt force trauma, blocking the neural pathways that control memory, judgment, and fear. Unfortunately, this disease can only be diagnosed after death.
Early neurological problems associated with CTE include depression, poor impulse control, illicit drug use, angry outbursts, and difficulty managing finances. For those in the later stages of this disease, dementia and movement problems, such as Parkinson’s disease, are often common.
Other long-term effects one might experience include:
- Chronic headaches
- Trouble focusing or concentrating on tasks
- Mood swings
- Not feeling like one’s self
- Memory dysfunction
- Feeling lethargic
- Difficulty making decisions
- Inability to process information
- Aggressive behavior
- Problems with social interactions
- Tremors or seizures
Of course, not all concussions are caused by sports injuries. Other causes include falls, car accidents, or being struck on the head with an object. All concussions should be treated seriously and include a visit to a physician. Without a proper evaluation or tests, it is impossible to know if you sustained brain damage.
Sports Concussion Litigation
Concussions are a serious matter and pose a serious risk to all types of athletes. It is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain impacts the interior of the skull due to either a violent head movement or jolt to the head, triggering a cascade of microscopic changes that do not always show up on brain scans. Individuals are incredibly vulnerable in the aftermath of this injury, and sustaining multiple concussions during that period of vulnerability presents a high likelihood of long-term brain damage.
Despite all that is known regarding concussions, sports organizations and individuals often do not treat this injury with the attention it deserves. Most regularly act contrary to the best interests of their athletes by employing unsafe return-to-play policies, failing to provide proper safety equipment, and not warning athletes of the risks of concussions.
Contact Shrader & Associates L.L.P.
If you or a loved one is a former NCAA athlete and suffered a concussion or concussion-like symptoms, it is in your best interest to contact a sports injury attorney who will help protect your legal claims. At Shrader & Associates L.L.P., we will do exactly that, and help ensure you receive the justice and compensation you are entitled to.
Contact us today at (877) 958-7920 for a complimentary consultation.