Post-concussion syndrome: Two questions for victims

Victims of another person's negligent act may suffer from a concussion. This could result in post-concussion syndrome, a disorder that can effect the victim for weeks, months or even years.

Public awareness about the potential for long-term damage resulting from a concussion has grown in recent years. This awareness is in part due to increased media attention, primarily focusing on the legal battles between professional football players and the National Football League (NFL). These battles include accusations that the NFL was aware of the increased likelihood of a player to suffer from a concussion while playing professional football and that these injuries would have long-term effects.

Unfortunately, these dangers are a reality for more than just professional athletes. The National Institute of Health (NIH) states that concussions, a form of a mild-traumatic brain injury (TBI), are a "leading public health problem." Concussions can be caused by injuries like the noted participation in high-risk sports like football, hockey, soccer or rugby. However, they can also result from involvement in a car crash or any other form of physical trauma. In some cases, the symptoms associated with this injury can last for weeks, months or years. Depending on the details, this may lead to a diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome.

Post-concussion syndrome: What is it?

A concussion results from a blow or jolt to the head which causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth, which damages brain cells and results in chemical changes within the brain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Post-concussion syndrome is something that can occur after a victim suffers from a concussion. This syndrome is defined by the medical experts with Mayo Clinic as:

[A] complex disorder in which various symptoms — such as headaches and dizziness — last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion.

This definition is further clarified by NIH as any prolonged symptoms of a concussion. There is not an exact time frame that is currently accepted within the medical community to aid in diagnosis of this disorder. Instead, factors for each case are reviewed individually to determine if a patient suffers from this syndrome. Factors taken into consideration include the age, sex and presence of any previous concussions. Symptoms connected to this syndrome can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of concentration, forgetfulness, mood swings, and depression

These same experts also note that the presence of post-concussion syndrome does not appear to be linked to the severity of the concussion. As a result, even minor concussions can result in the development of post-concussion syndrome. In fact, a significant whip lash-type injury can result in concussion even if the head did not strike the steering wheel, dash, or windshield. It is also noted that in some cases the syndrome can last for years.

Various treatments are available. Referral to a neurologist and neuropsychologist are recommended. NIH notes that rest is often the primary treatment.

Post-concussion syndrome: Do I need a lawyer?

Victims who suffer from post-concussion syndrome as a result of another’s negligence are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer. This disorder can result in lost wages and other costs associated with treatment. An attorney can review the details of your case and discuss any potential remedies that may be available. This can include monetary compensation to recover these costs.