When we think of young people and concussions, we often think of high school or college football players or kids who have headed a lot of soccer balls during matches. It’s true that athletes who play in contact sports are more likely to incur head injuries, but any child who runs, jumps, falls or rough-houses is at risk for getting one. Massachusetts in fact has had the highest rate of diagnosed concussions nationwide, according to medical studies.
While head injuries are not uncommon in contact sports, the danger of a second-impact concussion is where the real danger lies. In a concussion, the brain has been rattled inside the skull causing temporary symptoms, such as intracranial bleeding or edema. Full recoveries are the norm, but if a second concussion occurs before the brain has had a chance to heal from the first one, the result can be permanent brain damage, paralysis or even death.
Known as second-impact syndrome, the condition is rare but it has disproportionately impacted young athletes. According to a recent study of American high school and college football players reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, there were 94 catastrophic head injuries over a 13-year period, and 71 percent of high school players so injured had a previous concussion in the same season. The danger of such debilitating injuries has led some states to require medical clearances before coaches are allowed to send kids back to the playing field.
If you or your child has suffered a concussion in an auto accident, from a slip and fall, during athletic play or from any other cause, consult a doctor right away and before returning to any kind of contact sport. It is critical that a child, especially, has been cleared medically before resuming normal activities, including gym class and outdoor play. Waiting to heal not only protects your child from future brain damage but also is potentially life-saving.
In addition to obtaining proper medical treatment, consulting a lawyer with experience in brain injury cases can be invaluable. With assistance from medical experts, a seasoned attorney can help you determine whether the facts of your case support a lawsuit against any negligent parties and assess the damages recoverable for a debilitating brain injury.
Swartz & Lynch LLP has successfully represented many clients in brain injury cases. From our office in downtown Boston, we serve clients in the city and the surrounding neighborhoods of Suffolk County. Call us at 857-250-0664 or contact us online to arrange your free initial consultation.