How serious is even a single concussion? For a long time all concussions were assumed to be just minor injuries that might rattle the victim but without serious long-term harm. However, our Illinois brain injury lawyers, along with the rest of the public, have been following along closely as more and more medical research pours out that emphasizes the seriousness of even a single concussion.
For example, this week a story in Fox News discussed the serious nature of all brain injuries, including concussions. It was noted that the effects of a single concussion may linger for child victims up to a year after the trauma which caused the injury. This is a far cry from the “shake it off” approach that dominated community thought on these injuries for so long.
According to this latest story, when taking into account just child and adolescents, there are more than half a million severe to mild brain injuries annually. All of these victims face some symptoms, even if they may seem to have recovered without issue. Those problems can range from severe disabilities to mild problems with forgetfulness and attention issues. Even those mild symptoms can last for up to a year. To our brain injury lawyers, this is even more proof that all those in a position to prevent child concussions must step up their efforts to ensure the youngsters remain safe.
These latest findings on the length of time that symptoms persist in child victims were released by experts at Ohio State University and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The research involved 186 children and teens of various ages who have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries. These children were more likely than their counterparts to have headaches, memory issues, inattentiveness and other issues up to a year after the injury. Summing up the participant pool, one medical expert involved in the effort explained, ‘the majority of kids in the study were injured in sports or recreational activities. A small number were injured in motor vehicle accidents, but most were sports-related or falls.”
Researchers suspect that the injuries are affecting the children’s lives in ways that may have previously not been attributed to the head trauma. Problems in school, for example, may in part be connected to attention and memory issues caused by a concussion. The take-away message is clear: concussions are real traumatic brain injuries that have to be taken seriously at all times.
The research also may have legal implications. Those charged with keeping our children safe have an obligation to act reasonably to prevent harm. The amount of safety precautions needed to be taken to prevent harm depends in large part of the risk of harm and its severity. An old legal adage often is reduced to the equation B = LP. B refers to the burden (to ensure safety), L is the loss (degree of harm) and P is the probability of the harm occurring. In other words, as the potential harm increases-or awareness of that harm increases-then the burden on the individual ensure reasonable safety also increases. Failure to meet that burden could result in legal liability for the harm causes to child victims.
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