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Brain injury basics

Last week we talked about some recent changes the National Collegiate Athletic Association made to its rules for college football. These changes have already decreased the number of concussions sustained by collegiate players but, like any contact sport, football still carries its share of risks.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually occurs when a person receives a jolt or blow to the head that disrupts his or her normal brain functioning. These injuries are also commonly referred to as concussions, a fairly common occurrence in sports like football. But even if players frequently shrug them off and get back in the game, brain injuries should not be ignored as a public health problem.

About 1.7 million TBIs occur each year as a result of injury. The severity of these injuries can range from a slight, brief change in brain function to lasting amnesia or even death. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea or vomiting, memory loss, confusion, dizziness or sluggishness.

If you are an athlete and suffer a bump or jolt, take your time to assess your symptoms before jumping back into the game. Repeated impact can make TBI worse and it is best to seek help immediately if you experience symptoms of concussion. Talk to a doctor to make sure you get the proper care and don’t aggravate your injury.

After seeking medical attention, you may have increased costs such as medical bills, lost wages or other damages. If you sustain damages as a result of your injury and it was caused by someone else’s negligence you may be able to bring a civil personal injury claim as well.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Traumatic Brain Injury

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