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Are concussions brain injuries?


Yahoo! Sports published an article recently about football player Rashean Mathis from the Detroit Lions who expressed his views on concussions, wondering if they should be called brain injuries to convey their seriousness.

[…] One of the longstanding issues with concussions in the NFL is how they’ve been perceived. It isn’t unusual to hear a player say he got “dinged” when they suffered a concussion, terminology that lessens the seriousness of what happened.

But at least one player opened the debate about whether concussions should be called what they really are: brain injuries.

Detroit Lions veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis was placed on injured reserve by the team last week after suffering a concussion on Oct. 25 against the Minnesota Vikings. He dealt with “brief headaches” for three weeks after the injury, and when they did not subside, the decision was made to end his season.

The Detroit Free Press referred to Mathis having a brain injury in its initial story about his move to IR, prompting Mathis’ mother to call him in tears. Brain injury sounds far more serious than concussion, though a concussion is in fact an injury to the all-important brain.

“I had to address it, being the concern that was coming at me with my family, as well,” Mathis said. “Should the term be changed? Maybe so. I guess as the NFL, they might not like it if we do start addressing it as a brain injury, so therefore, that’s a different topic. But a light bulb goes off when someone says ‘brain injury’ in reference to concussion.”

Shalise Manza Young, Yahoo! Sports. Read the full article here.

This article reminded us about the real impacts of a brain injury, severe or minor. An estimated 17 000 Canadians suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) each year. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the two most common causes of brain injuries are falls and motor vehicle accidents.

A TBI can impact every part of your life. You may miss weeks, months or years of work, or even be unable to ever work again. Recovery from a TBI can involve physical, occupational and psychological therapy. These things can cause a serious financial burden for you and your family.

The impact of a brain injury

Because many brain injuries are invisible, victims often feel misunderstood and frustrated. It may be difficult to get people to believe there is any injury at all, since brain injuries will often not appear in tests (X-Ray, MRI, CT scan). There is sometimes still a mindset of “if you can’t see it, feel it or hear it, it doesn’t exist”.

Often a TBI victim will be treated as if they have lost their intelligence because of the injury. TBI victims do not lose their intelligence – they lose their ability to use it quickly and effectively.

What happens when the brain is injured?

The brain is extremely fragile. It is made up of a complex system of interconnected neurons, much like the circuits in a computer chip. When a group of neurons is damaged and dies, the neurons with which they communicated no longer receive information. Once these neurons no longer receive signals from the damaged neurons, they become inactive and eventually die. This is a process known as thecascade effect, and it is how an injury to one part of the brain will, over time, result in damage to the surrounding areas. That is why treatment and intervention are critical during recovery after a brain injury.

CLG Injury Law has been representing clients with traumatic brain injuries for over 25 years. You can also learn more about Traumatic Brain Injuries by downloading oureBook or Contact Us at 1-844-CANTINI.

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