When Is A Bump On The Head Not Just A “Bump On The Head”


Head trauma in young people is a growing concern, with 3.8 million concussions reported each year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and death in children and adolescents in the United States. According to the CDC, the two age groups at greatest risk for TBI are age 0-4 and 15-19.

It’s enough of a worry that the governing body of youth football is changing the sport’s guidelines to reduce the risk of head injuries. Repeated head blows, even with protected gear, has been shown to cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

A 24-year-old former football player from Des Moines, Zac Easter, took his own life in 2015 due to the effects of CTE. He wanted the world to know that repeated concussions were the cause of his death and at his request, his brain was sent to the California neuropathologist who discovered CTE. Easter is just one of a long list of football players who have died as a result of CTE. Tyler Sash, who played for the New York Giants, as well as Kenny Stabler, the former Oakland Raiders quarterback, are two others who had CTE when they died.

It is important to remember that not every bump on the head is a concussion and not every concussion is cause for an emergency but it is important to be aware.

Most signs or symptoms of a concussion are evident soon after the traumatic event.

Some general symptoms include:

  • Headaches or neck pain that do not go away

  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions

  • Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading

  • Getting lost or easily confused

  • Feeling tired all of the time, having no energy or motivation

  • Mood changes (feeling sad or angry for no reason)

  • Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping a lot more or having a hard time sleeping)

  • Light-headedness, dizziness, or loss of balance

  • Urge to vomit (nausea)

  • Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions

  • Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily

  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

  • Ringing in the ears

In younger children look for:

  • Tiredness or listlessness

  • Irritability or crankiness

  • Changes in eating (will not eat or nurse)

  • Changes in sleep patterns

  • Changes in the way the child plays

  • Changes in performance at school

  • Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities

  • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training

  • Loss of balance or unsteady walking

  • Vomiting

If you or someone you care about has been injured, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, personal injury attorneys, for a free, confidential legal consultation to learn more about your options.