Annually, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports nearly a quarter of a million traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related hospitalizations and over sixty thousand TBI-related deaths. Despite the prevalence of TBI, there are still many misconceptions about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of these injuries that prevent individuals from receiving the care they need.
With such a high occurrence of brain trauma in this country, Floyd Hunter Injury Law decided it was necessary to bust the most prevalent myths surrounding these injuries and provide the most up-to-date facts in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Myth: You Can’t Recover From a Traumatic Brain Injury
The truth is that timelines depend on the individual, and “recovery” can look different for everyone. Early intervention is the best way to get the treatment you need when you need it. While the effects of a concussion may be entirely resolved after a few weeks, more severe brain injuries may require rehabilitation along with months, or even years, of recovery time.
Health disparities can play a role in accessing treatment and recovering fully from the TBI, but, for many people, living a normal life after a brain injury is entirely possible with the proper care and support.
Myth: Concussions Cause Minimal, Short-Term Damage
Concussions are considered to be the mildest form of TBI, but this does not mean they cannot have a noticeable effect on the lives of those who deal with them. Neurological symptoms, such as trouble with memory, nerve damage, or changes in the sense of taste or smell may persist for a few weeks after a concussion.
In rare cases, some people experience post-concussion syndrome — a condition in which the effects of the trauma last longer than the expected six weeks. Taking any concussion seriously and seeking medical attention if you experience symptoms is essential.
Myth: To Injure the Brain, There Must Be Impact to the Head
Brain injuries can result from various causes which do include the impact of a fall or objects hitting the head. However, high-impact incidents like car accidents and motorcycle crashes can cause whiplash and other injuries that may lead to a TBI without anything coming in contact with the head.
Remember: not all forceful blows to the head will cause brain damage, but if you do notice the after-effects of a head injury, visit your doctor as soon as possible to be sure you are treated properly and promptly.
Myth: It’s Easy To Prove the Extent of Damage to the Brain
Not all traumatic brain injuries can be detected through a CT scan, which is why seeking medical attention immediately after an accident is crucial. A prompt diagnosis and treatment plan can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the injury from worsening.
Unfortunately, even with a diagnosis, proving the extent of a TBI can be complex and may involve demonstrating how the injury has affected an individual’s physical, emotional, and social well-being.
“Invisible injuries” caused by the TBI, like PTSD, anxiety, or depression, may take time to become evident and may have long-term implications on the injured person. This is where having a trusted legal advocate as your ally can be extremely beneficial in obtaining compensation for all losses.
Myth: Football Players and Other Athletes Are Most At Risk
Traumatic brain injuries can actually occur in a variety of situations, and they can happen to anyone. Contact sports, especially football, hockey, and rugby, are often primarily associated with TBIs, but the reality is that falls account for nearly half of all TBI-related hospitalizations, with motor vehicle wrecks and firearm injuries also being high-risk factors.
While sports and recreational accidents do make up a significant portion of TBIs, it may surprise you that cycling actually ranks above football on the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) list of sports with the highest incidence of head injuries.
Myth: TBI Patients Will Typically Show the Same Symptoms
In reality, every TBI patient will likely have a different experience after their injury. One of the main factors that determine how TBI symptoms present is the severity of the injury: TBIs can range from mild concussions to severe brain injuries, and each level of severity will have different symptoms and outcomes.
Age also plays a factor in how the injury will manifest. A child who suffers a TBI may bounce back quickly but experience developmental delays later on, while an older individual may have a more challenging time recovering if they were already weak prior to the injury.
If your injury has affected your life, no matter how severely, legal representation to help guide you through the process of obtaining much-needed compensation for injury-related expenses is your right. A free consultation with an Alabama brain injury lawyer can help you understand your options while giving you the confidence and resources to get your life back.