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CT Scan Normal After Your “Concussion”? You May Still Have a (Serious!) Brain Injury

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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We at McComb Witten are passionate about changing the way people think about concussions and brain injuries. Whether you slipped on pond ice or got hit by a careless driver at a stop light in downtown Vancouver, you may have hurt your head and been diagnosed with a so-called “concussion.”


This euphemistic description of the real problem—a concussion is technically a brain injury—can get in the way of treatment.


When people hear that they “only” have a concussion, they tend to expose themselves to way more risk than is appropriate.


Look, no one wants to be diagnosed with a brain injury. Labeling yourself as “brain injured” can be scary —even terrifying. You may need to miss work for a week or even a month. You may need to drop out of your favorite sport. You may need to undergo expensive procedures, such as MRIs and cognitive tests.


But wouldn’t you rather get the diagnosis right the first time?


Isn’t that far more preferable to re-injuring yourself because you failed to treat the concussion with appropriate gravitas?


CT Scans Looking Clear After a Concussion? You Are NOT Necessarily Good to Go


Recent research published in a Tier 1 brain injury journal suggests that CT scans may “underdiagnose” the intensity and severity of brain injuries. A CT scan can look clear, in other words, but the image may not pick up on small but serious lesions to neural tissues—injuries that can be horrifically aggravated by just a little extra trauma.


MRIs are perhaps better at picking up on these microscopic lesions. But our imaging technology isn't perfect. Just because you appear to be cured of your brain injury doesn't mean you are.


A Big Warning Sign: Serious and Chronic Headaches


Other research out of the University of Indiana’s Medical Center suggests that "clear CT scans" + "serious headaches" = highly elevated risk for Second Impact Syndrome damage.


To put that in plainer language: if you got banged up playing hockey or hurt in a car accident and then got an “all clear” on your CT scan—but you still suffer from bad headaches—then you really need to slow down and avoid doing dumb things, like ignoring your doctor’s orders and returning to practice or school before you are absolutely 100% ready.


To understand your legal rights following your brain injury, connect with the team here at McComb Witten for a free and thorough consultation.

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