Two million Americans will suffer a head injury this year; most will be minor but over a half a million of these accidents will require hospitalization.

Although it should go without saying that a head injury be taken seriously, many people consider head injuries as an acceptable risk while playing sports. In a worst case scenario, a head injury can bring on permanent disability, mental impairment or even death.

Definition: A head injury, also called a traumatic brain injury, head trauma, or concussion, is any trauma to the head that leads to injury of the scalp, skull, or brain. A head injury is either closed or penetrating. A closed head injury is one where the head sustains a blow from an object. A penetrating head injury is one where the object strikes the head, breaks through the skull and enters the brain.

The most common type of head injury is a concussion in which the brain is jarred inside the head. There are an estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions a year in the United States. A concussion temporarily alters ones mental state and multiple concussions can have long-term or permanent effects on mental cognition. Keep in mind that you do not necessarily need to be knocked in the head or lose consciousness to experience a concussion.

Permanent brain damage can be caused with a serious concussion; examples include when bleeding occurs inside the brain (intracranial hematoma), or when nerve cells are damaged (a diffuse axonal injury), or an infection is caused by blunt trauma (subdural empyema). The severity of the injury can determine the symptoms endured which can include paralysis, coma, seizures, personality changes, hearing and vision loss, loss of taste and smell and cognitive or learning disabilities. Damage may be immediately obvious or take hours or days to crop up.

Other traumatic brain injuries include contusions which are a bruise on the brain causing swelling and a hematoma which is bleeding in the brain that collects and forms a clot. A skull fracture is also considered a head injury; it is particularly dangerous when pieces of bone cut into the brain and cause bleeding.

If you or a loved one experience bleeding, an altered state of consciousness, convulsions, severe headache, skull fracture or scalp wound, blurred vision or pupil changes, a stiff neck, slurred speech or fluid draining from your nose, mouth or ears you should seek medical attention immediately. A delay in the diagnosis of a head injury could cause further damage or death.

Signs of a Head Injury

  • Double or blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness or balance issues
  • Depression
  • Feeling cloudy, groggy or sluggish
  • An enduring headache
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering

Causes of Head Injury

Apart from sports accidents, common causes of head injuries are car accidents, work-site accidents, falls at home or work, and industrial accidents.

Sports are the biggest cause of head injuries. The top 5 most offending sports in the United States include:

1. Cycling
2. Football
3. Basketball
4. Baseball and softball
5. Water sports such as diving and water skiing

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

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