Concussions have gained notoriety during the last several years due to the discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other previously unknown health risks. Unfortunately, concussions may be far more common than most people realize. If the long-term effects of concussions can be serious, such news would be very important.
A poll of 3,009 adults conducted by NPR and Truven Health Analytics claims one in four Americans have experienced concussions at some point their lives. To put these numbers into perspective, this means 81 million Americans might have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries.
So is this something to worry about, especially if you are one of the 81 million Americans with a history of brain injury? It depends on the circumstances. While some people make quick and full recoveries from concussions, others may suffer long-term complications. Long-term complications lasting months to years are rarer, but can include attention problems, depression and impaired decision-making abilities.
Also keep in mind that many of the people responding to this poll have suffered more than one concussion. Of the people who responded, 16 percent (translating to 12,960,000 people if the poll is correct) claimed they have suffered four or more concussions!
What Are Possible Long-Term Effects of Concussions?
People who have experienced concussions might be at higher risk for suicide. According to research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which studied a database of more than 235,000 people, those with concussions were three times more likely to eventually take their own lives.
Now, there could be other variables affecting this poll that were neglected or not mentioned, but it is still a reminder that concussions might have long-term effects we are only now discovering. If anything, this poll suggests it is important to continue carrying out research into concussions.
When people are injured from slip and fall accidents, or in car crashes, we should take into consideration that difficulties from concussions can last for a long time.