New Study Sheds Light on Brain Injuries

The New York Times recently reported on a fascinating study of what happens to the brain when the head sustains massive impact. The study was done on a football player, but those who suffer concussions or serious head impact as a result of car accidents or falls can learn something from the results, as well.

Football Player’s Head Studied

The study was done by hooking up a football player’s helmet with sensors and then reading those sensors after the player was hit in the head by another player during a violent tackle. The results may change the way that doctors treat significant brain injuries.

It has long been thought that a concussion is the result of the brain smashing against the skull after the head sustains serious impact. But this study indicates that the damage is done more as a result of the brain itself stretching and contorting in ways that it was never meant to do.

The most serious damage to the brain as a result of the stretching occurs in the most interior portion of the brain. An analogy would be like an egg to Jell-O. Unlike an egg, where the exterior would crack upon impact, the brain is more like Jell-O, where shaking it violently would cause it to come apart. The damage revealed by the study proved to be the same as damage found on brains that have been injured by repeated blows to the head.

The experts also believe that force exerted on the brain from left to right may have a more damaging effect than that from front to back. Thus, the impact from an airbag improperly deploying, which may snap the head back, may not be as serious as a T-bone or side car accident collision in which the head is shaken violently to the left or right.

Brain Injuries Can be Challenging in Court

Brain injuries are among the most dangerous to victims in large part because they may differ in severity and symptoms from patient to patient and because many people may not recognize the symptoms.

Experts do not know why there is such a vast difference in symptoms and recovery from patient to patient, but are starting to think that it may be genetic.

Juries in an injury trial often expect a certain injury to have certain symptoms and for those to be consistent from patient to patient, or from what they may have experienced in their own lives. An injury like a brain injury can challenge those assumptions, making it harder for a victim to convince a jury that he or she has sustained a brain injury.

Unlike broken bones, brain injuries often cannot be seen or measured on a scan or X-ray. Many symptoms may be subjective, such as a loss of interest in life, depression, or anger. As new research is developed, it may be easier for victims to demonstrate the trauma their brains go through after a serious accident.

If you or your family suffers a brain injury as a result of someone’s negligence, make sure the jury understands what you are going through. Contact the attorneys of Brassel, Alexander & Rice, LLC today for a free consultation to discuss your case.