If you've ever received a blow to the head, then you'll want to continue reading today's blog post. That's because, whether it was a simple bump on a low hanging cabinet in your kitchen or you were knocked unconscious while playing sports, pretty much any concussion can lead to brain damage, which can have long-term effects that you should know about.
Let's first start out by talking about what a concussion is. According to WebMD, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain strikes the inside of the skull from a blow to the head or a fall. According to the Centers for Disease Control, traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, are "a major cause of death and disability in the United States" and they can occur in both the young and old alike.
In 2010, the most recent year of statistical data, TBIs were diagnosed in 2.2 million emergency room visits. In many cases, TBI patients are children who suffer these injuries because of falls and recreational or sports-related activity.
The extent of disability that can result from a TBI is dependent upon two factors. The first is the extent of brain damage suffered after a single concussion. If the damage is minimal, symptoms may be relatively mild and recovery may be possible. If the damage is more severe though, disability may be immediately obvious and recovery might not be possible in all cases.
The second factor is how many concussions an individual receives over their lifetime. As you may or may not know, multiple concussions can lead to a serious disease called CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy which, according to Boston University and other sources, is a degenerative brain condition that can cause disruptions in brain function and can lead to death.
Because of the risk of long-term disability that may require Social Security disability benefits down the road or the possibility of death as well, most doctors encourage people to seek medical attention after receiving a concussion. Because as you can see with CTE, even the smallest of knocks to the head, if they occur multiple times over the course of a person's lifetime, can lead to serious health issues later on.