Frequently I am involved in cases where a person has suffered a head injury and is eventually diagnosed with “MTBI” or mild traumatic brain injury. As a personal injury lawyer, I normally see the MTBI diagnosis when the injured person continues to experience symptoms associated with head injury like headaches, dizziness, loss of concentration, etc. I rarely see a MTBI diagnosis where the symptoms from the concussion have resolved.
Continuing symptoms are something to be concerned about. In fact, some experts think it is inaccurate to classify any type of head injury as “mild”.
As I draw on my experience representing people who have suffered head injuries and have been diagnosed with MTBI, I would agree with those experts who feel it is inaccurate to treat any head injury as “mild”. The primary reason I believe this is because unlike a torn ligament, sprained ankle, or some other injury that is often classified as “mild”, you can never be sure that there is complete healing with a head/brain injury. In many cases, while symptoms common to brain injury appear to go away, what is actually happening is that the brain injured person is simply learning to cope with their deficits.
In a related way of thinking, we are also now learning about the long range impact of concussions. In the past, many people would have described a concussion as “mild”. Now, we understand that while the symptoms of a first concussion may in fact go way, that there is not a complete healing in the brain and a second concussion will likely lead to more pronounced symptoms.
Many times the longer-range symptoms of a head injury are quite hard to detect. That is why many people fail to tell their doctors about their symptoms. That is why I think it is very important that family members keep a close eye on their loved ones who have suffered a concussion. Ask questions to determine if they notice any issues with loss of focus, concentration, or memory. Find out if they are having any recent troubles with confusion, forming thoughts or speech. If so, an evaluation with a neurologist is always in order.