Head injuries should never be taken lightly. While injuries to other parts of the body are often more visible, and as a result may seem more serious, the consequences of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be incredibly intense. TBIs can leave people with after-effects that dramatically alter their entire lives. Sometimes TBIs are not diagnosed until years after the fact.
Because head injuries are not as easy to spot as other injuries, the true consequences of these types of injuries were not understood until fairly recently. Football fans will remember a time not too long ago when players suffering from a concussion would return to the field in the same game in which they were concussed. Now, this is strictly forbidden, and players often miss the next week’s game as well.
A lot of research has been done into the effects that traumatic brain injuries have on a person, both in the short-term and long-term. There have been many groundbreaking discoveries in this field of study over the past few decades. These breakthroughs have led to concussions and similar injuries being taken much more seriously.
Instead of the old school of thought, which believed concussions to be a short-term problem with no lasting after-effects, we now know that the effects of these injuries can last for the rest of your life. This risk is especially prevalent if you suffer multiple TBIs.
Immediate effects of a concussion may include:
- Dilated pupils;
- Loss of consciousness.
While possible long-term after-effects include, but aren’t limited to:
- Impaired cognitive function;
- Loss of energy;
- Trouble regulating mood;
- Inability to concentrate;
- Impairment to sensory and motor functions;
- Inability to filter stimuli.
Impaired Cognitive Function
Studies into former NFL players and others who suffered from multiple concussions have shown that there is a strong connection between multiple concussions and sustained problems with memory, speech, organization, language, and other cognitive functions. Those who suffer multiple concussions are far more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and similar neurological disorders.
Loss of Energy
Another problem that many multiple concussion victims still face later in life is a lack of energy due to troubles with keeping to a normal sleep schedule.
Trouble Regulating Mood
People with multiple concussions often face emotional impairments as well, such as difficulty in regulating their mood. This problem results in very high cases of depression, along with fits of rage and anxiety issues.
Inability to Concentrate
Trouble concentrating is another issue often faced by concussion victims, years after their trauma. It can have a severely negative impact on a person’s ability to function in everyday life and maintain work.
Impairment to Sensory and Motor Functions
Those who suffer multiple concussions frequently have problems with their sensory and motor systems later in life as well. They have trouble processing information gathered through the senses and transmitting an appropriate action back to the body to react. Many former football players who suffered from a long concussion history have real difficulty with throwing and catching a football later in life.
Inability to Filter Stimuli
Our brains are constantly bombarded with information from all around us. However, without even realizing it, a neurological process called sensory gating takes place within our minds. Sensory gating filters out all of the unimportant data, so that our brains don’t get overloaded. This process allows us to focus on the important information that is available for us to process.
People who suffered multiple concussions in the past often find that they lack the ability to properly filter all of the data they receive. As a result, they have trouble processing what is happening in the conversation they are taking part in because the conversations going on around them are just as prominent in their minds.
Fortunately, the more we learn about traumatic brain injuries and the problems they pose, the more we know about how to prevent and treat these injuries. There are many events that cause brain injuries. Most involve a sudden force moving the head quickly and rattling your brain.
Many steps can be taken immediately following a TBI to reduce the risk of long-term problems. There are also treatments that have been developed for helping a victim of a TBI to recover lost functions years later, and with further research, it is likely that there will be even more effective recovery techniques available in the near future.