Hard Hit or Serious Head Injury?

Whether it's sports related or a clumsy spill, that hard hit to your head may be more serious than you think.

“There's usually some inclination that there's a problem going on. Patients may have a disturbance in their memory, they may have some transient speech problems, distractibility, problems with language,” Sanford Health Neurosurgeon Dr. Troy Gust said.

Gust says most people think they haven't hit their head hard enough to see a doctor. And in some cases the warning signs may not be crystal clear.

“It's important to remember that not all of these symptoms show up right away. They can be delayed up to five, 15 even 30 minutes out,” Gust said.

But when you hit your head hard enough and sometimes in the right place, it can cause bleeding on the brain.

A skull fracture can lead to bleeding, which often requires surgery especially if the pressure inside the skull rises quickly.

That's when the head injury can become deadly.

“Patients may experience headache, nausea and vomiting. But if it's late in the evening and they go to bed, yes it may lead to unfortunate neurological deterioration and even death,” Gust said.

That's why if there's any question surrounding a hard hit, it's best to get to the nearest hospital.

“If a young adult or child is involved in some sort of blunt trauma and there's any neurological change or certainly any loss of consciousness, they should be evaluated in the emergency room by a physician,” Gust said.

Kelli Grant
© 2009 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.

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