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Who cares whether you call it a “concussion” or a “brain injury”?


In a recent library article and blog post, we harped on semantics. We at McComb Witten argue that you should call concussions “brain injuries,” since that’s what they technically are.


But many folks take issue with us for that.


Why make a fuss about the descriptors? Whether you call it a concussion or a brain injury or a blurbity gibble, it’s the same thing, and it won’t affect how you treat the injury. Right?




Language can powerfully impact how we think about and address life’s problems. Changing your perspective on your injury or illness—by using certain words instead of other words—can profoundly impact your mental, emotional, and logistical reactions.


Here's a tangential example.


Adolf Eichmann helped run the Nazi war machine, which made a business out of putting millions of people to their deaths. At his later trial in Israel, Eichmann was asked how he and his coconspirators could kill so many people without feeling remorse. Eichmann responded that he and his cohorts used a language called Amtssprache—in English “office speak” or “bureaucratese”—which relieved them of responsibility for their actions.


Amtssprache was loaded with terms like “I have to” and “it’s the orders.”


Just by changing the language that the Nazis used to describe their actions, they were able to transform themselves from ordinary people into genocidal monsters.


That’s an extreme example to illustrate the point, which is that the language that you use to talk about your injuries can profoundly influence the steps that you take (or fail to take).


When you call a concussion just a “concussion,” you may fail to give it the serious attention that the problem deserves. Even if you intellectually understand that you're hurt, how you label what you're suffering from matters. A great deal.


We at McComb Witten can help you understand what to do after your brain injury so you can protect your rights and your family. The staff at McComb Witten work with diverse clients, including people who speak Chinese, Vietnamese, Farsi, Spanish, English, and Tagalog. Call us today for a free consultation.

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