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Affects of Multiple Concussions
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Affects of Multiple Concussions

Before yesterday I had incurred 3 mild concussions within the last 20 months.  The first was the worst; the recovery was over a week.  The second next (7 days about) and the final was the least (about 4 days).  All of these were non-sports related where I whacked my head on shelves or other objects (I'm 6'3").  I never lost memory or conciousness.  I had a cat scan for the 1st but the next two times I just had motor-nuero tests which I passed.

As far as other long-term affects I think I'm fine.  Each time after the intital period of healing my brain works like before - I've never felt slow or overly moody/depressed.  The only lingering affect is the fear of hurting myself again.

Well, after a year of not hurting myself, being ultra-careful, and not participating in any contact sports I finally hit my head yesterday on the corner of a shower rack.  It wasn't very hard; much less severe than any of the other times I mentioned above.  2 hours later I felt the haziness and disorientaion, a mild headache, anxiety and tiredness I remember so well.

This case is the least severe of them all as I have no loss of appetite, nasuea, or horrible aversion to loud noises like all the rest, but I am very concerned about the fact that even a medium bump to the head, which otherwise would have caused nothing but a few swears, could have this affect on me - even after a year of being concussion free.

Here are my questions:

1)  Since I have less symptons can I skip the doctor's visit this time?  My motor function is fine.  I know what to look for if there is a slow bleed in my brain and my wife is watching out for me too.  My doctor wouldn't give me a catscan either if he didn't the previous 2 times.

2)  What is the latest research on the cumulative affect of mild concussions on long term mental health?  I'm specificially worried about alzhiemers/ dementia as 3 of my grandparents were affected by these (I'm 36).  The short-term unpleasantness wouldn't bother me so much if I wasn't afraid I was destroying my brain function long-term.

3)  Will I always be this vulnerable to head injuries?  I thought all the carefullness and a year of a healthy head would toughen up my brain more. I hate thinking about everything I do!

Any help would be appreciated. :)

Thanx
EK
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a few years older than you and have sustained mutiple concussions over a lifetime. Some when I was young and foolish, some playing HS football and some involving cycling accidents. I am not a doctor, just experienced and my gut feeling about your last incident is to let it be. Unless you whacked your head hard enough to bruise the tissue I would say your brain is probably just fine.

My last concussion was a doosie. I went over my bicycle handlebars in a full sprint at 37mph and came down right on my head. The impact was enough to cause my helmet to explode into pieces. I would have to say that out of all my concussions that was the most severe. When I woke up on the street I had no idea where I was, what day it was, what I had been doing and who I was with. Now with that being said, fast forward 2 years and I am not drooling and can hold down my job, although it is far harder to do so then it used to be.

The reason I told you about all that is so that you can put it all in perspective. The trauma caused to the brain is not so much the impact of a blow to the outside of your head, but rather what goes on inside. The brain gets bounced around and this causes damage whether from the brain contacting the inside of your skull, which has a fluid cushion, or from the twisting and shearing of the brain parts during rapid  acceleration and deceleration of the brain.

I think you'll be just fine. If you spend your time worrying about what could come in the future you won't enjoy the present. The brain is pretty resilient. Take it from me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 57 year old physician.  At age 9 while playing around  I fell and loss consciousness for an unknown period.  It was so long ago I don't recall how I felt immediately afterward.  In those days you were hospitalized for a grade 3 concussion (closed head injury with loss of consciousness.)

When I was 17 I was assaulted and hit in the head with a steel pipe.  (Hey, I grew up in Manhattan!)  I don't recall any symptoms after this.

I was around 40, two years after finishing my residency.  I began experiencing short term memory loss, sleep disturbance, and intermittent depression.  I had neuropsych testing which documented this.  I probably had ADHD as a child before the concussion but it did not seem to affect me as much as it began to as my post concussion symptoms progressed.

I also had sleep studies which demonstrated total loss of slow wave and REM sleep.

Over the next few years the symptoms began to get worse and included severe fatigue and apathy.  When I was 42 I had a car accident in a rented car with faulty brakes.  I had a concussion and even CSF leakage coming out of my nose.  I was so stupid.  I should have gone to the ED because the possibility of serious problems connected with CSF leakage was there.  Anyway, at the time I was learning to fly and had to take a month off becuase of the concussion.  I was still well enough to practice medicine and get an instrument license.  I was a good physician and pilot.

However, over the next few years my symptoms worsened.  My Complimentary Physician Colleagues (and Internal Medicine as well as neurologist) could not figure out what was wrong.  The consensus was that I had Chronic Fatigue Immuno-deficiency syndrome.

The problems became so bad that I had to stop work and have been disabled every since.

The problem was that the docs could not understand the ~30 year latency between the first concussion and my symptoms.

Just this week and article came out in Time Magazine about this very subject.  Multiple head trauma in youth can cause the exact symptoms that I have!  They are starting to do studies.

Am I sure that I have the same problem.  As a physician all I can say is that it and anything else are possible.  I am going to find a physician who is familiar with this and have him review all my records, CT scans, PET-CT, etc.

To answer your question, no one can predict your future.  The fact that you had no LOC is good.  What I can tell you is that my life is hell.  Going from someone practicing medicine to someone whose short term memory and ADD at this time could not get me through High School is horrible.  (This is all from serial neuro-psych testing.)The loss of one's cognitive function is one of the worst things I think that can happen.  Both my parents are now demented.  (Alzheimer's has been ruled out in me.)  I see myself turning into them.  That I can write this is difficult.  My command of language is all that is left in terms of strengths.

My point is simple.  Common sense alone should tell a person that continued injury to the head is not a good thing!  Sure, you may be fine.  But, if you continue injuring your head you are rolling the dice!

Take care of yourself.  Your health is the most important thing you have.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've had 4 concussions and I'm only 19 years old. I've had 1 falling off my bike, 1 snowboarding, 1 in hockey and 1 wakeboarding. I'm curious as to what my brain function will be like after having 4 concussions in the past 10 years of my life. I'm nervous to continue doing my sport activities and how it will effect my long term brain movements. I also have a horrible memory when it comes to studying for school and remembering peoples names.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have fallen off handle bars of bike and hit my head on concrete (yes I was little and did that back then-the banana seat bikes-before helmets was a big thing), I smacked myself on a porcelein sink, when I was littler, I had a baseball hit in my head and it was going pretty fast (in my twenties), I was in a couple car wrecks where my head hit the stearing wheel and dashboard/possibly window pretty good,  (yes I do have epilepsy-surprise) had symptoms since my teens but not diagnosed till my late 20's and now just this past week I had a seizure and fell from standing up and hit marble flooring I guess pretty hard is what the people said (I can feel it).  Prob more happen but I can't remember all of it. Oh and I am a professional but having extreme difficulties right now in life with my seizures, fatigue, memory and more and looking into disability .
Take more
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Avatar_m_tn
i have had numerous full contact karate boxing hit on several occassions with baseball bats ect.at 53 iam losing contact with my old lifestyle i was always very active now i just watch tv an take morphine an zanax just to feal normal not even my doctors dont ever told me anything about concussions i had 162 -i-q in high school now i can barely manage my social security check an need help rembering to take my medication let alone being a personal trainer.ANYONE who gets a concussion needs to go to a HOSPITAL dont be worried being a sissy you deserve to live a normal full life screw anybody who isnt supportive of you taking care of yourself especially teenagers whose brain is still growing an developing
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Avatar_m_tn
I just turned 30 years old in May.  I started playing football when I was in 5th grade and played through high school.  Back then concussions weren't taken as seriously by players, coaches, etc.  As I've gotten older I've developed issues with periodic depression, anxiety, and most recently my short term memory has really gotten worse.  

I was only diagnosed with one concussion and it happened while playing a game of neighborhood tackle football.  I'm positive that I suffered at least 6-8 others while playing organized football.  Back then it was just considered "getting your bell rung" and as long as I could walk straight and wasn't seeing double then I was sent back out on the field, whether it was practice or a game.  I must add that I played linebacker most of my career.  That position entails hitting people.  Hard.  Even during practice most of our drills consisted of hitting.  A lot.  I took lots of knees, shoulders, and helmets to the head.  I can't tell you how many games/practices I participated in with a splitting headache, but I didn't know any better at the time.  Unfortunately, I also don't remember a lot about my football days.  Just snippets of practices and games.  It *****.  But football was my first love, and I still love it to this day.  It's hard to say whether I would change anything if I could go back.  Probably not.
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Avatar_m_tn
I just turned 30 years old in May.  I started playing football when I was in 5th grade and played through high school.  Back then concussions weren't taken as seriously by players, coaches, etc.  As I've gotten older I've developed issues with periodic depression, anxiety, and most recently my short term memory has really gotten worse.  

I was only diagnosed with one concussion and it happened while playing a game of neighborhood tackle football.  I'm positive that I suffered at least 6-8 others while playing organized football.  Back then it was just considered "getting your bell rung" and as long as I could walk straight and wasn't seeing double then I was sent back out on the field, whether it was practice or a game.  I must add that I played linebacker most of my career.  That position entails hitting people.  Hard.  Even during practice most of our drills consisted of hitting.  A lot.  I took lots of knees, shoulders, and helmets to the head.  I can't tell you how many games/practices I participated in with a splitting headache, but I didn't know any better at the time.  Unfortunately, I also don't remember a lot about my football days.  Just snippets of practices and games.  It *****.  But football was my first love, and I still love it to this day.  It's hard to say whether I would change anything if I could go back.  Probably not.
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