Concussions are Definitely Brain Injuries
I looked up the definition of concussion in my computer dictionary today. The definition is: “temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head. The term is also used loosely of the aftereffects such as confusion or temporary incapacity.” That peeked my interest so I sought out definitions from other dictionary sources, we have so many to choose from these days. The definitions usually reference amnesia or loss of consciousness and sometimes mention brain injury. I question this definition. While a concussion may cause unconsciousness it does not always happen, but the fact is it is always an injury to the brain.
A class action lawsuit between the NFL and more than 4,500 former players and their families regarding the issue of concussions was recently settled to the tune of $765 million. For many years these former NFL players have suffered the long-term cognitive effects of concussions. Most of these head injuries did not result in loss of consciousness. As part of this settlement, the NFL will be allocating $10 million to underwriting concussion- related research.
Coincidently experts are convening in Santa Clara this week to discuss concussions in sports. While this conference coincides with this recent settlement, it was obviously in the works long before. You do not gather a host of experts in the fields of medicine and sports overnight. Thankfully the sporting world has taken a better and stronger look at the impact of concussions on athletes.
I have written several articles addressing the issue of concussions and some of the cutting edge research going on specifically in the Bay Area. Research into the effects, treatment and preventative measures to help sufferers of concussions is so important. Concussions not only happen to athletes but to victims of a fall or car accident, so I welcome anything that will bring to the forefront research to help people who suffer the effects of these brain injuries.
I was recently at the Hot Summer Nights car show in Danville, with my wife. I pointed out that many of the old cars had no headrests. When you are in a rear end accident, the headrest stops the backward movement of the head. Imagine the horrific impact to the head without headrest protection! Without a headrest your head whips back and forth and your brain bounces back and forth against your skull as well. The results can be a concussion or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Airbags are an extremely important improvement in auto safety but the force of an airbag can sometimes be so strong that drivers and/or passengers sustain concussions from the impact of the bag itself.
As an Oakland personal injury lawyer, I have seen many clients suffer concussions. I have seen clients endure the debilitating headaches, confusion, memory loss, ringing in the ears, nausea or vomiting and fatigue. For many, their day to day lives are greatly altered.
Some symptoms of concussions may be immediate while others may be delayed by hours or even days after the injury. While some brain imaging techniques can measure the severity of the injury such as bleeding or swelling in the skull, many times the diagnosis is determined by a neurological exam. Since definitive diagnosis is difficult and indicated by symptoms, I have seen insurance companies reject medical evidence in reviewing a claim. Many times insurance companies will not view the seriousness of the recovery of a concussion in the same regard as they view the recovery from a broken bone. Having practiced personal injury law for over 30 years, it is my job as your attorney to convey to the insurance carrier the seriousness of this type of injury and the impact it has on your life.
NFL and ex-players reach deal in concussion lawsuit, CNNHealth, August 30, 2013
Concussion experts gather in Santa Clara to talk about concussions in sports, Inside Bay Area News, September 11, 2013
Danville Hot Summer Nights, 2013