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Which brain injuries are acquired and which are congenital?

Participants in various types of contact sports in Ontario are at risk of suffering head injuries. However, brain injuries can have other causes, and not all of them follow head trauma. Those that are caused by a blow to the head are called acquired brain injuries, and they can follow car accidents, falls or assaults.

Brain injuries can also be acquired when the brain is starved of oxygen, or when someone develops a brain tumour or an aneurysm. A stroke or an infection can also harm the brain. Sometimes, a person can suffer progressive brain damage due to multiple sclerosis, dementia, Parkinson's Disease or Alzheimer's Disease, although these are not classified as acquired brain injuries or ABI.

Brain injuries can be congenital and present at birth, or could result from a developmental disability. Examples include muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spina bifida with hydrocephalus and autism. Medical negligence could cause some of these conditions during the birthing process.

The most prevalent type of brain injuries is likely caused by concussions. This happens when a blow to the head or the sudden head movement such as whiplash causes the brain to smash into the inner walls of the skull. It can cause bruising or bleeding of the brain, and some -- but not all -- victims suffer brief moments of unconsciousness. Although concussions are sometimes called mild traumatic brain injuries, they could cause long-term medical problems.

Victims of brain injuries that resulted from the negligence of others might have grounds to pursue recovery of financial and emotional damages through the Ontario civil justice system. This could be a car accident, an assault or a negligent sports coach who allowed an injured child to continue instead of taking him or her out of play. The best step might be to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can determine the viability of a lawsuit, and then provide the necessary guidance and support.

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