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Repeated brain injuries can have life-altering consequences

A concern that has been mentioned often in recent media reports involves repeated head injuries. A neurologist at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto says that more Canadians suffer brain injuries every year than the combined total of those affected by HIV/AIDS, MS, breast cancer and spinal cord injuries. She says many brain injuries go unreported because they seem mild, but even repeated mild brain injuries can have severe consequences.

Any person who suffers brain trauma more than once is at risk of a condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This happens to football players and other athletes, and it could be similar to a punch drunk syndrome suffered by boxers. The doctor who first discovered CTE examined the brain of a deceased athlete who had a history of psychiatric and cognitive symptoms and found some of the abnormal proteins common in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients.

CTE can impact a victim's life immensely because it causes cognitive changes that could affect thinking and memory. It can also cause personality changes and unfamiliar behaviours such as struggling to make decisions, impulsivity, and the inability to regulate moods. This could lead to depression, paranoia, anxiety and suicidality.

Toronto athletes can prevent such severe consequences by seeking medical care at the first signs of a concussion. Most patients recover after a period of brain rest, but symptoms that are prolonged might need more sophisticated treatment. Medical bills could soon be mounting, but if another party's negligence caused the brain injuries, an experienced personal injury lawyer might be able to navigate a civil lawsuit in pursuit of recovery of past and future financial losses along with emotional damages.

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