Whether it be from a car crash, a sports injury, a slip and fall or some other event, a concussion is the most common form of traumatic brain injury. It can lead to tragic circumstances if not handled properly. We already know that concussion rates are on the rise in Ontario.

How long does a concussion last? It can be anywhere from a few days to several weeks or in some cases, permanent symptoms and impairment. In fact, according to Concussions Ontario.org, 15-20% of concussion victims can have a much longer row to hoe, facing “potentially difficult and prolonged symptoms that interfere with their functioning and daily lives”.

How Do I Know If I Have A Concussion?

Some of the telltale signs to check for concussion, to name only a few, include:

  • Loss of consciousness (even briefly)
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Noise Sensitivity

It’s crucial that the correct steps are followed in the short term, ensuring a proper road to recovery. With that in mind, let’s examine 5 immediate steps to follow if you have a concussion:

  1. Prompt Medical Attention
  2. Tests & Proper Diagnosis
  3. Plenty of Rest
  4. Observation & Follow-Up
  5. Stay Hydrated
What To Do If You Have A Concussion

Although there are many other factors, let’s focus on these most important first steps:

1. Prompt Medical Attention

Doctors must determine the severity of the head injury, therefore seeking out immediate medical attention is essential. A concussion is caused by the brain being jostled and even bumped inside the skull. Even though you may think it’s just a minor headache, 5% of those who suffer a concussion can develop bleeding in the brain or a blood clot that can possibly be fatal. Rapid medical attention is imperative.

2. Tests & Diagnosis

At the onset, a basic neurological exam will be administered, to determine the status of such things as motor and sensory skills, hearing, speech, and vision. A CT scan and an MRI are also possible tests that could be conducted. It is hoped that after these tests, a proper diagnosis can be made, which will determine the next steps.

3. Full and absolute rest

“Rest” for those suffering from a concussion is not the same as the “rest” one does when lounging and watching Netflix, or chilling out listening to your favourite music. Rest for concussion recovery means no work, reading, texting, watching TV or listening to music. Sleep—and plenty of it—and quiet are the main prescriptions. The brain must be given a chance to heal without sensory distractions.

4. Observation & follow-up

It’s imperative for the victim to be observed by family or friends (or any other caregiver) in the first hours and days after a concussion to look for signs of recovery, or in the opposite scenario, worsening symptoms. Often, the concussion victim themselves, by definition, may not have the mental faculties to determine their own condition.

5. Stay hydrated

A key to recovery is proper hydration, primarily with water. Caffeine and alcohol are to be avoided.

Depending on the severity, recovery from a concussion can be a long and arduous process; In the case of the injury resulting from another party’s careless behaviour, compensation for damages should be pursued. However, with brain injuries often being largely invisible, these types of claims can be difficult. A personal injury lawyer with expertise in concussion and brain injury cases is imperative.

Brian A. Horowitz has nearly 35 years’ experience in successfully recovering damages for brain injury victims.

“Some of the most difficult cases I handle involve head injuries, where there are no objective signs of a bleed on diagnostic imaging like MRIs and CT scans,” says Mr. Horowitz. “In many of these cases, my clients experience a degree of recovery over the ensuing weeks and months, only to find out when they return to real-life activities, their symptoms recur in a major way. Patience and following their doctor’s advice is the best way to deal with these types of injuries. There’s no substitute for proper rest and time.”

Call Horowitz Injury Law today for a free consultation: 416-925-4100.