My guess is that if you watch sports, play sports or have a kid who plays sports you have thought about concussions at some point in the last year.  It’s all over the news.  Not just football, but soccer, wrestling, basketball, cheer-leading and many other activities.

We’ve come to understand that a concussion isn’t a head injury, but instead a brain injury.  When I first started practicing Illinois workers’ compensation law 20 years ago, I was taught that a concussion is something relatively minor and many people who say they have one are faking.  Thanks goodness we’ve learned that I was taught wrong.

As you probably know, a concussion is no joke and for many people it can turn their lives upside down.  While it’s not always objectively seen on brain scans as compared to seeing a broken bone on an x-ray or a herniated disc on a MRI, it’s just as problematic if not more so.  These patients can have trouble focusing, constant headaches, blurred vision, difficulty with light, problems reading, memory loss or even permanent disability.

The best advice I can give to someone with a concussion is to immediately get medical help and don’t try to “tough it out.”  You can’t tough out a brain injury and a concussion is a traumatic brain injury.  In extreme cases it can lead to death.

The other advice I’d give to someone with a concussion is to not rush to settle your case.  You can go back to feeling normal and then go for a jog or bump your head and suddenly everything could come back again.

Bottom line is that we know way more about concussions now than we used to.  These injuries have settlement value much higher than was previously thought.  It’s important to get a lawyer in your corner who understands how serious they are.

Bonus thought.  If you are a professional athlete or other worker who is continuously experiencing head trauma, the day you stop being an employee of that team or company (or sooner if you can) you should file a workers’ compensation claim.  We now know of course that concussions can happen due to both single incidents as well as over time from taking repeated blows to your head.  Any pro football player for example could likely lock up lifetime concussion treatment by filing a claim when they retire even if major symptoms don’t appear for a couple of years.

As always, call the number at the top or fill the form to the right if you’d like a free consultation to discuss your case.  We cover all of Illinois.