Recently, a committee in the Indiana Senate passed a bill requiring football coaches to get regularly trained in identifying and understanding the risks of concussion; it also requires that student athletes who might have sustained a concussion or another head injury sit out from game play for at least 24 hours.
Concussions are the most common kind of traumatic brain injury and are sustained in commonplace scenarios, including vehicular collisions, sports injuries, and slips and falls. Although we’ve long known that concussions can cause severe symptoms and long-term medical problems, there’s still ongoing research about the effect of concussions on people in different age groups, along with a need to make people more aware about all of the problems they potentially lead to.
A mental health risk
Some of the lesser-known effects of concussions are psychological; they can lead to irrational and unstable behavior that reduces quality of life and puts people at risk for future harm.
A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health examined the association between concussions and depression among teenagers. The researchers found that teenagers who had suffered a concussion were more than three times as likely to experience depression as teens without a history of concussions. The association between depression and concussions existed even when other risks for depression, such as poverty and living with a parent who has mental health issues, were factored out.
Depression not only causes a persistent negative mood; it can also lead to emotional numbness, depleted energy, emptiness, and in some cases, suicide. It interferes with quality of life; people with depression have a harder time at school and work, lose pleasure in hobbies, and fall out of healthy relationships with other people. The psychological and financial costs are significant.
When someone experiences a concussion, it’s important to not just look at the immediate physical symptoms (e.g. nausea, headache) but also to pay attention to the long-term effects. These kinds of injuries can impair cognitive performance and have a negative effect on psychological well-being. Among children, teenagers, and young adults whose brains are still maturing, concussions may have a negative impact on cognitive and emotional development more generally.
When you contact experienced Indianapolis injury lawyers about a concussion, don’t hesitate to discuss these effects. They may not show up immediately after an injury, so it’s important to remain vigilant and keep track of them.