Myth 9: Mild TBI is not permanent.

Over and over again defense doctors testify that everyone who sustains a mild traumatic brain injury gets better; that mild traumatic brain injury is not a permanent condition. This simply is untrue.

Dr. Michael Alexander has pointed out that at one year after injury, 10 percent to 15 percent of mild TBI patients have not recovered. Many are more symptomatic than even immediately after the injury. Some have had persistence of one particularly troubling symptom –usually headache, neck pain or dizziness. Most have persistence and even worsening of the entire symptom complex. Both groups are at high risk of permanent symptomatic persistent post-concussive syndrome.

Work to date shows that mild brain injury results in measurable deficits in speed of information, processing, attention and memory in the immediate post-injury period. Recovery from these deficits is the rule occurring over a variable period ranging from four to 12 weeks. For small group, recovery may occur much more slowly or remain incomplete.

As Silver and McAlister explain, a good recovery is not universal. They note that although the long-term prognosis is favorable for the majority of patients with a mild TBI, it is well recognized that there can be significant short-term behavioral, somatic and cognitive sequelae. Furthermore, a significant minority of patients develops a chronic, often-debilitating constellation of signs and symptoms known as the chronic post-concussive syndrome.

You can read my other posts on the 10 myths of traumatic brain injuries here.