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What does the brain experience during a concussion?

A concussion can happen in many different ways–in a fall, in a car accident, or while playing sports, for example. Symptoms can include dizziness, loss of memory, nausea, and headaches. If you’re experiencing these symptoms in Ontario, you may be wondering what exactly happens to the brain when you get a concussion.

Essentially, a concussion is just a bruise on the brain. Of course, the brain itself is not usually contacted, as it is protected by the skull. Within the skull, it is also surrounded by protective membranes and fluid. This is cushioning for the fragile organ.

When there is an impact to the head that is hard enough, the cushioning is not sufficient to keep the brain from moving. It moves up against the inside of the skull, slamming against the bone and getting bruised. You can imagine how easy this is in a car accident, when the brain is traveling at the same speed as the vehicle and then stops suddenly at impact.

The damage to the brain can get even worse as the brain is stretched and compacted against itself. Not all parts of the brain move at the same speed. It can therefore be subjected to shearing forces, which can tear or stretch it, damaging nerve tissue further.

In some cases, the damage from the concussion can be permanent, as the damaged tissue is no longer functional and can’t communicate with the rest of the body through the nervous system.

If you’ve suffered a concussion, and especially if you’ve had multiple concussions that could lead to degenerative brain diseases, you need to know what rights you may to compensation.

Source: Brain Facts, “What happens in the brain during and after a concussion?,” accessed March 25, 2016

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