For football fans, the sight of a player lying motionless on the field after taking a violent shot to the head is not an uncommon one. Even though players wear high-tech helmets, powerful head-shots can cause concussions; the concussions are increasingly causing concern for the long-term welfare of the players involved. While few ever experience the thrills or dangers of a professional football game, the risks posed by concussions are the same for all of us. The reality for people who suffer concussions, no matter how they are sustained, is that they can lead to permanent damage to high-level mental processes. Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University provide compelling evidence that concussions cause brain damage and specific altered mental processes. In the August issue of medical journal “Radiology,” researchers concluded that DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) brain scans can help diagnose concussions and assess treatment effectiveness. More than a million Americans per year suffer a concussion. Adults sustain concussions mainly in traffic accidents or falls. Up to 30 percent of people who suffer a concussion (referred to by medical care providers as a mild traumatic brain injury) suffer permanent damage to their brain. They can have impairments ranging from changes in their personality to memory problems, impaired social judgment and depression. A typical concussion occurs when the head and body are moving and the head suddenly hits a fixed object. The brain, in its protective jacket of water inside the skull, keeps moving, rotating forward and backward on the brain stem. This spinning motion disrupts nerves controlling alertness, triggering a chemical reaction. For the brain to function properly again, the chemical reaction needs to recede. Concussion symptoms can be disabling: headaches, dizziness and difficulties concentrating, among them. It can take days, weeks and even months for them to subside. Unfortunately, in some cases, symptoms never fully end for the victim, especially in cases where a person has had repeated or severe concussions. If you have sustained a concussion in a motor vehicle accident or fall due to someone else’s negligence, you should discuss your circumstances and symptoms with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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