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Post-concussion syndrome: how a bump on the head can affect your brain for years

  • 03.11.2021
  • EmmaArnold
  • Personal-injury
  • head injury post concussion syndrome

Four years ago, when Michelle Parker was headbutted by her horse, her GP advised she had concussion. She was told to go home and rest and that she would be fine after a day or so.

Yet Michelle still lives with daily migraines, fatigue, 'brain fog', forgetfulness and struggles to find words as a result of that head injury. The condition is known as post-concussion syndrome, but she has found it can be difficult to get some doctors to take it seriously.

Concussion is defined as a 'minor traumatic brain injury' where you get an energy transfer to the brain either by a direct blow to the head or transferred energy. Concussion can cause symptoms such as headache, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, slurred speech, confusion and visual disturbances.

Many people who suffer concussion get over it in a week and 99% within a month. Yet for some, including Michelle, the symptoms endure and are referred to as post-concussion syndrome (PCS).

For a few months after the head injury, Michelle was back and forth to the GP. The symptoms were so severe that she had to be signed off work. Six months after the incident and still suffering migraines and forgetfulness, she was finally sent for a CT scan. It showed there was nothing wrong with her brain.

Unlike other brain injuries, post-concussion syndrome cannot be picked up on a scan which can cause problems with diagnosis, prolong symptoms and delay them getting the right treatment such as physiotherapy.

Rachel Rees, Solicitor Consultant at Potter Rees Dolan is passionate about post-concussion syndrome and has acted for many clients who have suffered. She said:

“For many years, people presenting with what we now know to be symptoms of mild brain injury were dismissed as “neurotic” as their disability was attributed to their emotions - or worse - exaggeration or “malingering” as it was then called. This dismissal led to even more distress and lack of support.

Thankfully there is now greater knowledge and understanding of the condition including the fact that when people’s thinking is altered by such trauma, this inevitably affects their emotional behaviour too, and a more compassionate approach to treatment has been developed.

The sporting world is finally making strides on prevention and treatment, and Headway has worked hard to raise awareness with their campaign Concussion Aware. Sadly, NHS resources are still very limited across the UK. Early treatment is essential to achieve the best outcome, so advice should be obtained from a legal team with specialist experience of helping the survivors of post-concussional syndrome who know the right experts to approach and can obtain interim funds to start rehabilitation as early as possible.” 

Rachel Rees is a Solicitor Consultant in personal injury here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about post concussion syndrome, or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Rachel or any other member of the team, please contact us on 0800 027 2557 or contact Rachel directly.