Brain injuries can have a longer impact than thought, study finds

A new study delves into the CTE problem in the football industry, fueling a discussion of the extent of damage done by brain injuries.

It is now commonly known that brain injuries are more serious than were thought during our youth. Gone are the days of telling children that take a hard hit to the head to walk it off. These injuries are now tended to carefully and children and adults alike are monitored carefully in an attempt to determine the extent of the injuries.

New studies continue to dig into the impact of these injuries. One of the most recent involves data from football players. A great deal of research is present on sporting related injuries due to the vast amount of money that is present in this industry, particularly the National Football League (NFL). The New York Times discussed the most recent research, which focused on the connection between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and participation in football. Of the 111 subjects that were in the NFL, 110 had CTE.

CTE is a degenerative disease that is believed to be linked to repeated blows to the head. It is different than a concussion since it results from a series of smaller impacts as opposed to one larger blow. Symptoms of the disease include confusion, depression, memory loss and dementia. Like other forms of traumatic brain injury, the problems associated with this disease can persist long after the initial injury.

What causes brain injuries?

Medical experts with Mayo Clinic explain that traumatic brain injuries are caused by a blow to the head. The severity of the injury depends on a number of factors, including the damage done to brain cells or the presence of bleeding, swelling or blood clots. The injury can be further complicated if the brain moves back and forth due to the impact or experiences a rotational motion. These complications can result in additional damage to the brain.

These types of injuries can occur in a number of different situations. In addition to sporting events, as noted above, common causes include falls, car accidents, war zone injuries and other acts of violence.

What types of treatments can help?

There are various proactive steps that victims of traumatic brain injuries can take to help aid the healing process. The National Institutes of Health breaks down treatment options into two main categories: emergent and long term. Emergent treatments can include surgery to repair skull fractures or remove pressure that is present within the skull. Long term options can include medications and various forms of therapy, including physical, occupational and psychological.

Exercise is another option. A recent study out of Finland shows a connection to sustained aerobic exercise and brain health. This connection may translate to aiding in the healing process for those who suffer from brain injuries.

Should I get an attorney?

These forms of treatment can become costly. If the injury is the result of another's wrongdoing or negligence, such as a car accident, it is wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can build a case that includes not just the immediate costs connected to the accident, but one that also includes long term costs like future treatment for injuries. Contact an attorney to discuss your options and better ensure you receive the resources needed to help cover the cost of treatment.