It’s an all-too-common assumption that the symptoms of traumatic brain injury (TBI) last only three to six months, and this misunderstanding can make it more difficult to claim the compensation you’re entitled to after experiencing a TBI.
However, a recent study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma found persistent and ongoing symptoms in individuals who suffered a TBI—in many cases, these symptoms were present a full year after their accidents.
In the recently published paper “Symptom Frequency and Persistence in the First Year after Traumatic Brain Injury: A TRACK-TBI Study,” a team of TBI researchers detail the findings of a year-long study into long-term TBI symptoms.
The study enrolled 2039 participants who had experienced a traumatic brain injury within the past 24 hours, 257 control participants who had experienced a traumatic orthopedic injury, and 300 control participants who had not experienced any traumatic injury.
All participants were asked to rate sixteen common symptoms of TBI on a scale of one (no more of a problem than before the injury) to four (a severe problem). Any symptom that was rated above a two (a mild problem) was considered to be endorsed by the participant.
All participants in the study were then reevaluated at two weeks, three weeks, six weeks, and one year after their injuries (or, for uninjured controls, after the start of their enrollment in the study). Each time, they were asked to rate the same sixteen symptoms compared to what they experienced prior to the start of the study.
The study found that for each symptom and each time interval, the endorsement rate for symptoms was highest for participants who had experienced traumatic brain injuries. Although symptoms showed the highest rate of endorsement at two weeks and decreased substantially by three months, symptoms still present after three months showed less recovery on average over the course of the year.
In addition, cognitive symptoms showed little change over time and were endorsed by at least 35% of those with TBI at every interval (for control subjects, this rate was less than 20%).
Memory problems and taking longer to think were particularly persistent. More than 70% of TBI sufferers who reported these symptoms after three months also reported them at six months, and out of those participants, more than 70% also reported these symptoms after a year.
Poor concentration, fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances, and irritability were also endorsed at a high rate among those who had a TBI and tended to be more persistent over time.
On the whole, persistent symptoms were found to be common in patients with TBI of all severities, including mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (mTBI). A full year after their injuries, 50% of participants with TBI reported three or more persistent symptoms, and more than 70% reported at least one problematic symptom.
If you’ve suffered a traumatic brain injury, the TBI attorneys at Stark & Stark are here to help.
The results of this study are clear.
In conclusion, the researchers state that “contrary to reviews that report symptom resolution by three months post-injury among those with MTBI, this study of participants . . . found that persistent symptoms are common to at least a year following the traumatic brain injury.”
If you’ve recently suffered a traumatic brain injury and are wondering whether you might be entitled to compensation, you should look for an attorney who understands that the effects of your injury may be both significant and long-lasting.