Traumatic Brain Injury: What are the signs?
Questions have been raised again about the link between brain injury and mental instability in the wake of the recent suicide of an Ohio State University football player, Kosta Karageorge, who allegedly suffered from debilitating concussions.
What is traumatic brain injury?
TBI is defined as a head injury due to blunt or penetrating trauma. TBIs have often been associated with war wounds, like soldiers in war who are exposed to explosives, and athletes, especially football players and boxers. The term “concussion” refers to a mild TBI — although doctors say they don’t consider any brain injury as simply mild.
A decision in August 2013 by the National Football League to settle with 4,500 ex-players over head injuries reflects a growing body of research showing that repeated concussions can cause permanent brain damage.
What are the signs of TBI?
Confusion and amnesia are the clinical hallmarks of the condition. Multiple concussions can lead to other health problems like post-concussion syndrome, which involves headaches, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Epilepsy, vertigo, personality changes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia have also been linked to repeat concussions in boxers and football players.
A degenerative disease tied to repeated jolts to the brain — chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE — has symptoms ranging from dementia to altered behavior, and perhaps to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Sufferers of CTE can have difficulty maintaining relationships and those with advanced disease can spiral into depression and substance abuse — and sometimes end up taking their own lives, said Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the NorthShore University HealthSystem and co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute.
TBIs are not exclusive to athletes. In fact, a new study released in September found an increase of visits to emergency rooms for TBIs by 29 percent over the last four years — with the biggest jumps coming among toddlers and seniors. Read the full story here.
If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury, contact Brain Injury Law Firm Mazin & Associates, PC for a free consultation.