Spinal cord and brain injuries are due in large part to sports-related injuries in teenagers and kids. Although fatalities from sports are not common, the leading cause of death from sports injuries is traumatic brain injury (TBI). Although an injury such as these can happen in any sport at any time, there are some that have a higher risk such as football, soccer, baseball/softball, cycling, and skiing/snowboarding.
Serious TBI’s are a result of trauma to the head or neck region that causes the brain to bruise, tear, swell and even bleed. There are two types of brain injuries; open, means the skull has been fractured from a fall in direct contact with a hard surface or object, and closed, which is oftentimes more serious due to the brain swelling and forming of blood clots inside the skull. The most serious type of head injury results in paralysis, loss of consciousness, and even death. If your child or someone you know has experienced a head injury that you believe someone else may be at fault for, consult an experienced brain injury attorney to help protect your rights.
Common Head Injuries
Bruising: A common injury resulting from a force moving the brain forward and then backward, or vice versa in a jarring motion such as heading a ball too hard in soccer or getting knocked by another helmet in football. The force can cause bruising in some areas and even bleeding in others.
Tearing: In some instances, the force in a collision can cause tearing to the brain. Similar to small cracks in a wall, the nerve system of the brain is damaged and can cause impairment of bodily functions depending on the area where it occurs.
Swelling: The body’s natural healing processes cause swelling, which can happen by itself or in conjunction with either injury listed above. Swelling to the brain is highly dangerous due to the fact that there is no room for the brain to migrate when it begins to swell, causing intra cranial pressure that can cause severe impairment of body functions and even death.
Symptoms of Head Injuries
Head injuries are hard to diagnose at first due to sometimes not having serious symptoms. Because there are no visual indications of a serious injury to the brain, it’s important to pay attention to a victim’s behavior and health to evaluate a victim’s potential for brain injury. Common symptoms include:
Spinal Cord Injuries
Although spinal cord injuries are not as common as other injuries sustained by athletes, they are often far more catastrophic and serious. Cervical spine (C-spine) injuries are common with contact sports such as football, hockey, rugby, and wrestling. Injuries occur in all levels of play, from high school to professional and although serious injuries are infrequent, most are self-limited. Spinal cord injuries are divided into two categories: incomplete, the cord is only partially severed, allowing the injured person to retain some function, and complete, where the cord is fully severed, eliminating function. If you, your child, or someone you know has sustained an injury to the spinal cord caused by another person or organization, a spinal cord attorney may be able to help you protect and fight for your rights.
Common Spinal Cord Injuries
Brachial Plexus Injuries: An injury to the brachial plexus nerve network may cause weakness, loss of feeling/movement in the shoulder, arm or hand. The injury is caused when the arm is forcibly pull or stretched. This system of nerves begins at the neck and then crosses the chest to the armpit and normally heals without treatment. Sever injuries may require surgery to regain function to the arm or hand if need be.
Spondylolysis & Spondylolisthesis: Defects of a vertebra’s spondylolysis and the slippage of one vertebra in relation to another (spondylolisthesis) are common injuries to athletes in sports such as gymnastics due to the hyperextension of the spine. These injuries may include special imaging studies at the doctor such as a bone or CT scan in order to confirm diagnosis. Recovery for such an injury often includes a period of rest, ice, medication and specific exercises, similar to that for regular sprains and strains.
Herniated Disk or Bulging Disk: A relatively common injury in the field of sports and although the injury differs slightly depending on which section of the spine they occur, the outcomes are the same. This injury occurs when there is a tear in the outer portion of the disc with the nucleus pulposus material oozing from the disk. A worst-case scenario results in neurological symptoms including weakness, burning, numbness, and tingling in the associated nerve pathway. The treatment for such an injury is commonly rest, immobilization in a cervical collar, activity modification, and medication.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Anyone who has experienced significant trauma to your back or spine should seek medical attention and evaluation immediately. An injury isn’t always recognized immediately and may become more severe as time goes on. The following symptoms are signs of a spinal cord injury:
Pursuing a Legal Claim for Spinal Cord and Head Injuries
If your child has suffered an injury to the head or spinal cord, you may be entitled to a legal remedy for your incident. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your rights. Any and all sports hold the possibility of an injury to the head or spinal cord, so be sure to prioritize your child’s safety. A injury lawyer can help you open an investigation as to whether or not negligence was involved in the accidents and the possibility to help pursue a claim against a school, coach, player, or municipal body.