What is Post-Concussion Syndrome? | Bolt Burdon Kemp What is Post-Concussion Syndrome? | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that affects brain function. Experts at the University of Birmingham have found that it accounts for 1.2 million visits to hospital each year in the UK.

Concussion can be caused by a fall, road traffic accident, an assault or sporting accident. In the military environment, concussion often arises as a result of an accident during training exercises or during combat situations. Symptoms can include nausea, headaches, dizziness, memory problems and poor concentration.

For most people, concussion will resolve within a few days but some people may find that symptoms persist for longer. Post-concussion syndrome occurs where concussion symptoms continue following a head injury. Although classified as a mild brain injury it can be very debilitating. Patients may suffer with long-term disability with symptoms continuing for weeks, months or even longer after the initial injury. Alex Sinclair, Professor of Neurology at the University of Birmingham highlights the far-reaching consequences of post-concussion syndrome with 3 in 10 people reporting not being able to work at 12 months post-injury.

What are the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome?

Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome will vary from person to person but will typically include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling depressed, tearful or anxious

A full list of symptoms can be found on the Headway website.

For those that suffer post-concussion syndrome while serving in the military, returning to military duty will not be possible until they have recovered from these symptoms and statistics provided by the University of Birmingham show that up to a third are not able to return to military duty in the UK. Often the brain injury will go undiagnosed or may be mistaken for another condition, which can be both frustrating for the patient and detrimental to their career as a prolonged recovery period will likely result in being medically downgraded and medically discharged.

Who can suffer from a post-concussion syndrome?

The short answer is that anybody can suffer a post-concussion syndrome and identifying patients most at risk is not currently possible. However, this is a developing area of medicine and the Ministry of Defence has recently provided funding for a research study, which is being run by the University of Birmingham and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, into identifying ways to accurately predict if patients will develop these long-term complications after concussion. The aim is to improve the care of patients with post-concussion syndrome, by allowing an earlier diagnosis, swifter treatment and improving their long-term management. This will be hugely beneficial to both military and civilian patients.

You can read more about the research study here.

If you have suffered a post-concussion syndrome then you will understand how debilitating it can be. If your injury was caused by military service or you are concerned about the treatment you have received, then you should seek advice as you may be entitled to claim compensation. There are strict time limits on bringing a claim so it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after your injury.

If you have suffered from post-concussion syndrome and would like some legal advice then please do not hesitate to contact the military team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.

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