By Marilyn Silverman
If you google the words how seriously are concussions taken, you will be stunned that parents are not even alarmed if their sons and daughters are the recipients of this diagnosis by their trustworthy family physicians.
As per WebMD, these mothers and fathers should, in fact, be alarmed, very alarmed indeed since concussions can be a stepping stone for a multitude of medical conditions that could have a detrimental impact on their quality of life.
A medical journal, Pediatrics, stated that there are actually doctors out there and parents as well, who don’t feel that they should be concerned when that white-jacketed doctor with an ever-present prescription pad in hand, articulates this dire diagnosis.
Scientists associated with McMaster University in Canada embarked on a research project whereby they found that children who are so afflicted were lying in hospital beds as inpatients for fewer days and were returning to their desks as well in fewer days. One of the researchers, Carol A. DeMatteo, concluded that, “the family is less likely to consider it an actual injury to the brain. This puts them at greater risk for a second injury, poor school performance and wondering what is wrong with them.”
According to Science Daily, there is now public awareness that it should not be ignored; this is attributable to screaming newspaper headlines about the incidence of concussions afflicting your beloved football players who not today, not tomorrow, but many tomorrows into the future, will be the victims of debilitating medical conditions. Obviously, this is sad news for the athletes. But that their conditions are headline stories is good news for us. We don’t hear about concussions in the workplace since we are not celebrities, just ordinary folks—the paparazzi doesn’t follow us when we go to the doctor—we are not news. Truth be told, the brain, such a vital bodily organ, just can’t take repetitive blows to the head. Public Services Health and Safety Association states that when you hear the word concussion, you immediately associate it with sports.
Theda Care concludes that we should all take concussions seriously since they can cause long- term brain damage. “But not everybody understands its severity.” Orlando Sentinel states that “neurologists say Americans don’t take concussions seriously enough.” According to Dr. Beth Ansel, National Institutes of Health, “although concussions are considered to be a mild brain injury they need to be taken seriously. It should not be treated as minor injuries that quickly resolve.”
According to Andrew Weill, MD, research suggests that sports-related concussions can one day down the road lead to long-term brain damage. We are not just talking about a headache that can be cured with an aspirin, but Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
The prestigious John Hopkins University stated that the hippocampus, which is an area of the brain that is responsible for memory, is affected.
Dr. William Meehan, a member of the American Academy of Pediatricians’ Council on Sports Medicine, said, “Every time you get a concussion there is some effect on the brain that doesn’t go away.” You can’t just apply an ice pack and everything will be just dandy.
As per Huffington Post, as time elapses, repeated concussions can actually alter the chemicals and cells situated within the brain, a frightening specter indeed. These chemicals and cells include those responsible for such critical functions as concentration, problem solving, judgment, impulse control, memory loss, aggression and depression. Basically, the totality of your very existence.
Harry Kerasidis, MD, and author of Concussion-ology, makes a disturbing observation. We see the human tragedy of homelessness every day, but did you know that half of these homeless men lying sprawled out on our streets had traumatic brain injury and this is how they ended up? And that teenagers who during their lives experienced concussions had higher rates of suicide attempts and of course we all know that suicide attempts often end up as suicides?
As you can see, it’s not just professional football players who fall victim to concussions and its dangerous repercussions; it’s teenaged boys whose mothers and fathers encourage them to play for the high school football team since it is engrained in our consciousness that a sedentary lifestyle will contribute to the onset of obesity with all of the latter’s complications.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, a former pathologist, found that the repeated blows to the head, causes microscopic injuries to the brain and hundreds of such blows cause permanent brain damage. The word permanent next door to the word brain is a scary word indeed—your brain is damaged—there is no turning back time.
According to SFM The Work Comp Experts, “the reality of the situation is that concussions are reported even more frequently in the workplace.” The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s COMPACT newsletter states, “the number of lost-time claims with concussions has increased to its highest level in 2018.” Its contributory factors are slips and falls, accidents involving heavy machinery, strikes to the head from falling objects, motor vehicle mishaps, or explosions.
AXA itemizes the roster of professions where workers are most vulnerable: construction, firefighting, public safety and mining.
“Twenty-five percent of all occupational traumatic brain injury is suffered by construction workers,” as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As they build our beautiful cities with awesome skyscrapers, they suffer unfortunate health consequences. When you hop into your car and enter the rush hour traffic or swipe your Metro card, the last thing on your mind is that you will be carried on a stretcher to a local hospital.
According to Injury Claims Coach, “Head injuries are not a joke. If you’ve taken a blow to the head…don’t try to brush it off, act tough or assume you’re okay.” Do not delay medical treatment since it is dangerous obviously from a medical perspective, but it could also undermine your worker compensation claim. “The insurance company will jump at the chance to argue that your injury didn’t happen on the job.”
Remember: the law firm you hire, does make a difference.
Workers’ World Today is a free publication that empowers all workers, regardless of social or political affiliations. Distributed throughout New York City, our paper has a mission to educate workers and provide them with relevant information pertinent to the workforce such as workers’ compensation, discrimination on the job, workers’ rights, and more.