In recent years, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have emerged as a pressing health concern in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.7 million people suffer a TBI each year — most of them being mild to moderate concussions. In all, experts have estimated that the costs of TBIs in the United States, including medical expenses and lost productivity, run into the tens of billions of dollars annually.

Though TBIs happen fairly frequently, doctors are still working to understand the long-term implications of these injuries. Previously, the medical community believed that the effects of TBIs would dissipate over time. New research indicates, however, that this belief may be mistaken and that even mild TBIs may cause serious long-term health problems.

Recently, researchers at the University of Oklahoma conducted a study of 500 veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, all of whom were being treated at the special headache clinic at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. Each patient had suffered a traumatic brain injury in the years prior to the study.

Researchers asked the patients to detail the severity and incidence of common TBI symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, depression, change in mood and difficulty making decisions. The data was divided according to whether a patient had suffered a TBI within four years or within five to eight years of the study.

What researchers discovered was that time did little to decrease the severity or incidence of common TBI symptoms. Among those who had suffered a TBI within four years of the study, approximately 50 percent reported mild to moderate headaches, while about 46 percent reported severe headaches. Among those who had suffered a TBI within five to eight years of the study, 45 percent reported mild to moderate headaches and 51 percent reported severe headaches. The numbers were similar for all other TBI symptoms.

More research is needed to determine whether receiving proper treatment can play a role in reducing the severity and incidence of TBI symptoms. The implications are clear, however: even a mild TBI can cause long-term problems.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury or other catastrophic injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can assess your case and help you receive the fair and adequate compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. For more information about what a personal injury attorney can do for you, contact a lawyer today.