Head Injuries

The Hidden Head Injury – the Concussion From Whiplash

Fortunately in recent years, more focus has been placed on the dangers of head injuries – including injured soldiers returning from military duty; the National Football League com- ing under scrutiny; and bike helmet campaigns. Whether a mild concussion or more severe traumatic brain injury, one myth associated with head injuries is that the head must make impact with a physical object. However, that is not always the case.

In particular, in a motor vehicle accident, the head does not need to make contact in order to cause a head injury by whiplash. In such instances, the brain inside the head actually does come into contact with a physical object – the skull. In other words, when a person suffers whiplash, the spongy gray “gelatin-like” matter of the brain first makes impact with the front of the skull as the head is thrown forward and then, as the head is thrown back, the brain hits the back of the skull. The contact is internal rather than external, but the injury can be just as devastating:

  • When the brain bounces around in the skull and rubs against the bony ridges on the inside of the skull, this is known as a coup/contra coup injury. It can cause bleeding and swelling within the brain. Because the brain sits in a tightly enclosed space, there is no way to accommodate the increased swell- ing and pressure. This damage can disturb the microscopic pathways that send messages through the brain and out to the body as well as the chemicals that help the brain to work.

Head injuries can manifest themselves in many ways:

  • Physical changes include difficulty walking, trouble with balance and falling, dizziness, poor coordination, difficulty grasping, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and seizures.
  • Sensory changes include vision, hearing, smell and taste disturbances.
  • Cognitive problems include trouble with memory, concentration and attention, following directions, word-finding, problem solving, abstract thinking, organization, planning, social judgment, decision making, self monitoring, and initiating tasks.
  • Behavioral/emotional changes include irritability, mood swings, impulsivity, stubbornness, sadness, low energy or self‐esteem, hostility, depression, and anxiety.

The length of recovery from a head injury depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the severity and location of the injury, how quickly the injury was diagnosed and treated, and the injured person’s general health and age.

An excellent resource for individuals and families is the Brain Injury Association of Virginia found at www.biav.net. If you or a loved one suffer whiplash in a motor vehicle accident – be on the lookout for any signs of head injury. Also be sure to hire an attorney that understands and has experience with head injuries.

This article provides general information only. For more details please be sure to contact an attorney. Locke & Quinn provides services for all types of personal injury. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleenMQuinnRichmond/about.

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The Hidden Head Injury – the Concussion From Whiplash

Fortunately in recent years, more focus has been placed on the dangers of head injuries – including injured soldiers returning from military duty; the National Football League com- ing under scrutiny; and bike helmet campaigns. Whether a mild concussion or more severe traumatic brain injury, one myth associated with head injuries is that the head must make impact with a physical object. However, that is not always the case.

In particular, in a motor vehicle accident, the head does not need to make contact in order to cause a head injury by whiplash. In such instances, the brain inside the head actually does come into contact with a physical object – the skull. In other words, when a person suffers whiplash, the spongy gray “gelatin-like” matter of the brain first makes impact with the front of the skull as the head is thrown forward and then, as the head is thrown back, the brain hits the back of the skull. The contact is internal rather than external, but the injury can be just as devastating:

  • When the brain bounces around in the skull and rubs against the bony ridges on the inside of the skull, this is known as a coup/contra coup injury. It can cause bleeding and swelling within the brain. Because the brain sits in a tightly enclosed space, there is no way to accommodate the increased swell- ing and pressure. This damage can disturb the microscopic pathways that send messages through the brain and out to the body as well as the chemicals that help the brain to work.

Head injuries can manifest themselves in many ways:

  • Physical changes include difficulty walking, trouble with balance and falling, dizziness, poor coordination, difficulty grasping, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and seizures.
  • Sensory changes include vision, hearing, smell and taste disturbances.
  • Cognitive problems include trouble with memory, concentration and attention, following directions, word-finding, problem solving, abstract thinking, organization, planning, social judgment, decision making, self monitoring, and initiating tasks.
  • Behavioral/emotional changes include irritability, mood swings, impulsivity, stubbornness, sadness, low energy or self‐esteem, hostility, depression, and anxiety.

The length of recovery from a head injury depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the severity and location of the injury, how quickly the injury was diagnosed and treated, and the injured person’s general health and age.

An excellent resource for individuals and families is the Brain Injury Association of Virginia found at www.biav.net. If you or a loved one suffer whiplash in a motor vehicle accident – be on the lookout for any signs of head injury. Also be sure to hire an attorney that understands and has experience with head injuries.

This article provides general information only. For more details please be sure to contact an attorney. Locke & Quinn provides services for all types of personal injury. Article provided by Colleen M. Quinn, Esq. at https://plus.google.com/+LockeQuinnColleenMQuinnRichmond/about.