Concussions aren’t just in sports, but in the workplace too

Concussions have been in the national spotlight recently.  That is because of the rising awareness of concussion impacts on the NFL, NHL, and other sports.  However, concussions aren’t just a ‘sport’ thing, they happen often in the workplace as well.

Concussion work injuries can be one of the most serious of all on-the-job injuries. Most of these type of injuries can be attributed to head trauma that is caused by falling objects, slip and falls, malfunctioning equipment, and auto accidents.  They are also often litigated in Pennsylvania because of the impact they could have and the fact that symptoms can be slow to wane and continue to develop.

Loss of consciousness — does it matter?

One of the misnomers out there is the fact that if the individual did not lose consciousness, then he/she is probably exaggerating their symptoms.  That simply is far from the truth.  A mild traumatic brain injury can certainly cause loss of consciousness, but there also may be no obvious symptoms at all, including loss of consciousness.  In fact, the vast majority of concussions across the United States, loss of consciousness does not occur.

One common myth about a concussion is that it only occurs, or more often occurs, following loss of consciousness. The truth is that concussions occur with or without loss of consciousness. In fact, more than 90 percent of concussions are not accompanied by a loss of consciousness.  A related myth is that when there is a loss of consciousness, this indicates a more serious concussion and a lengthy recovery period. Our research shows that loss of consciousness is not directly correlated to a longer recovery, and may even be associated with a shorter one.

Fact is, there is no substantial proof or research at all that loss of consciousness has anything to do with whether a person suffered a concussion or not.

Concussion Symptoms

The common concussions symptoms I see with my injured workers are:  headaches, migraines, fuzzy and blurry vision, lack of balance, nausea, irritability, noise and/or light sensitivity, drowsiness, and mood alteration.  Some of these symptoms can be quite serious and can linger for significant time periods.  Some symptoms develop a week or more later and do not present themselves as initial symptoms.

We certainly can’t predict the symptoms.  They differ from person to person.  We also can’t predict recovery.  Some people recover within a week or two, other remain symptomatic well over a year after the head trauma.  Additionally, symptoms can change and develop over time.

Besides the physical and mental symptoms you often read about, there are also significant emotional symptoms.  Often times, with injured workers out of work, they feel useless, depressed, and unsupported.  They are often criticized by co-workers and supervisors and made to feel like they are faking their symptoms.

Post Concussion Syndrome

What is the difference between a concussion and post concussion syndrome?  Concussions are the actual injury to the brain, the traumatic occurrence of an event to your head area. Post Concussion Syndrome is the development of symptoms that some people develop after they have had concussion. The symptoms you experience from the concussion is considered post concussion syndrome.  The injury inside the brain that occurs is the concussion.  It is a simplistic explanation, but the best one I can provide.

You may be entitled to benefits

If you have suffered a concussion at work, you may be entitled to wage loss and medical benefits.  They are complicated injuries and are often targeted for litigation by employers and insurance carriers.  Don’t go it alone! If you live in Central Pennsylvania and have suffered a concussion injury at work, call Mooney & Associates immediately for a FREE CONSULTATION.  We have offices located in Greencastle, Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, York, Mercersburg, Hanover, Gettysburg, New Oxford, Stewartstown, and Halifax.    Call today at 717-200-HURT.


Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.