Concussions or TBI? November 29, 2009.

Is there really any difference between a concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

The question of whether or not a concussion is a more benign form of head injury as compared to traumatic brain injury is a good one. By all reports however, concussion and traumatic brain injury are the same thing and merely distinguished by degrees

Put another way, concussion is a milder form of traumatic brain injury, but certainly nothing to be downplayed, as even though it may be a mild concussion, it may still have serious consequences.

Witness any football game in the US, or anywhere else for that matter, and one will see bone jarring hits and collisions that often result in players being trucked off to the hospital for observation. Blows to the head are especially problematic.

While many sportscasters and players refer to a head blow as a concussion, most medical staff call it a traumatic brain injury. Oddly enough, in the world of sports, a hit to the head is often regarded as being funny and couched in terms like "the player got his bell rung." There is definitely nothing funny about a mild concussion or any form of traumatic brain injury.

For those who don’t understand the term traumatic brain injury, it occurs when the brain is smacked up against the skull resulting in temporary neurological impairment. Other cellular processes that routinely happen in the brain are also disrupted for days or weeks after the initial impact, largely depending on the grade of the concussion. Concussions range in grade from 1 to 3, and concussion and mild traumatic brain injury are the same thing.

Grade III concussions are considered to be any loss of consciousness due to a blow to the head or by something else like whiplash. Even with lesser grades of concussion, they may lead to things like epidural hematoma; the cause of film star Natasha Richardson’s death. Richardson’s death was the impetus for school athletes to stay away from sports for several "months" if they’ve sustained even "one" mild traumatic brain injury.

Playing sports like football, soccer and hockey come with inherent risks, and that risk relates to things like brain injuries. Nonetheless, if someone has been injured as a result of a slip and fall accident, a car crash or by playing sports without the proper safety gear, and negligence is present in the equation, consulting an expert personal injury attorney is a smart idea.