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Thinking / Cognitive Symptoms

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“I was trying to hide my struggle from my family and the team,”says retired NHL hockey player Pat LaFontaine, after he experienced a concussion. “I would lie there questioning what was wrong with me. My thoughts were all over the place, so I tried to stop thinking…. I remember trying to read a story to my two daughters. We were sitting in bed and I was trying to keep my focus and concentration on reading that story. I started to skip words. I went back and tried to say the words again. I was ahead of myself and didn’t comprehend the story. I was focusing on just trying to read the words right and getting very concerned when I couldn’t. Finally I put the book down and told the girls I was sorry but I didn’t feel like reading.”

Like Pat, many people have sustained a concussion and walked away only to later find that their lives are somehow different after the injury. They may not realize that their changes in mood, behavior, and thinking abilities may have been altered by TBI. Because these invisible impairments tend to go undetected, they can often plague a person’s life for weeks, months, or even years

What are some cognitive symptoms of brain injury?
After a brain injury occurs, a number of cognitive symptoms can occur right away, while others can arise long after the injury.

If you've witnessed someone experience a blow to the head, it’s important to keep an eye out for any of the following “invisible indicators”of brain injury:

If any of these symptoms appear immediately or soon after the injury, then the injured person needs to be evaluated at a hospital right away. If weeks, months, or years have passed by since the injury, then it may be helpful to enlist the help of a neuropsychologist, who can administer a series of tests that screen for thinking-related impairments due to brain injury.


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