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Concussion Side Effects and Complications

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September 26, 2018 Firm News

After repeated injuries, concussion side effects can get worse

Anytime you experience a blow to the head or a severe impact that jostles your head, you should have a doctor check for concussion. What’s more, if you have a history of concussions, you could be at greater risk for certain concussion side effects.

Athletes and others who have experienced multiple concussions over the course of their lives could be at greater risk of:


In a survey of former athletes, those who sustained three or more concussions reported depression three times more than fellow athletes. Others who sustained one or two concussions during their careers had been diagnosed with depression 1.5 times more than those who never had a concussion.


A Danish study reviewed the data of more than 164 million person-years (i.e. the lifetime data 7.4 million people), looking for correlations between brain injuries and suicide rates. Of those reviewed, more than 34,000 had died by suicide:

“Among all suicides, 3,536 (10.2%) had previously been diagnosed with [traumatic brain injury]—2,701 with mild TBI, 174 with skull fracture and 661 with severe TBI.”

Medical professionals classify concussions as mild TBI, and this study shows suicide data for thousands of people in that category.

Dementia and Cognitive Issues

A form of dementia, dementia pugilistica, often appears in people who have experienced multiple concussions. First noted among boxers, the condition can affect anyone with a history of concussions. Symptoms include problems with coordination, reduced mental ability and memory problems.

According to the Brain Injury Research Institute:

“Dementia pugilistica is actually a variant of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is itself a serious type of brain damage resulting from repeated concussions and is found in many professional athletes and military personnel who have been subjected to multiple impacts to the head.”

CTE, mentioned above, is a related brain disease. In CTE, a protein develops that kills brain cells, resulting in many symptoms, including aggression, mood disorders, impulse control and even paranoia. Over the long term, CTE impacts overall cognitive function and usually progresses into dementia. 

Seek Medical Care

While most concussions heal with proper rest and treatment, sustaining multiple concussions could lead to the complications mentioned above. These issues often show up for former athletes in contact sports, as well as military personnel, but accidents on the road or at home can be a contributing factor.

If you suspect you have a concussion following an accident, seek medical care immediately and follow doctor’s orders. Proper medical care can help reduce the severity of symptoms and long-term side effects.

If you have been injured in an accident and need legal representation, contact us for a free case evaluation.