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Can traumatic brain injury put someone in a coma?

With fall just around the corner, many local Delaware families are likely gearing up for football season. Whether it's watching pro football or college football on television, or watching one's children play in youth sports, fall can be an exciting time for many fans. Still, football has brought attention to the dangers of head injuries. Whether someone is in a sports-related accident, a car accident or any other type of jarring incident, traumatic brain injury may result.

There are many unknowns relating to traumatic brain injury; one question some may have is whether or not this type of injury can put someone in a coma. Indeed, traumatic brain injury, commonly abbreviated as TBI, can put an injury victim in a coma. A coma is an extended state of unconsciousness and begins as a very serious medical emergency. Despite certain high-profile media cases making it seem as if comas usually last indefinitely, comas actually tend to last for no more than a few weeks.

Accident victims who remain in a coma for longer than several weeks are often said to be in a persistent vegetative state. Unfortunately, if one is in a coma for over a year, it is very unlikely that one will regain consciousness. After an accident causing head injury, symptoms of a coma include irregular breathing, no response seen in the victim's limbs, eyes that are closed or pupils which don't respond to light and no response to painful stimuli except for reflexes.

Not surprisingly, accident victims who sustain brain damage often face a long, hard road to recovery. Those who become comatose - and their families - can find themselves dealing with insurmountable medical expenses. It's important for victims of negligence to know that they have rights when it comes to pursuing compensation for the costs associated with their injury and recovery; a personal injury attorney can advise victims and families of these crucial rights.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Coma," accessed Sept. 14, 2015

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