Most of the concussions I find myself talking about are the result of sports injuries or car accidents, but it is easy to forget that falls are actually the leading cause of traumatic brain injury. That’s why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent health issues have kept my interest rather well.
While trying to recover from a stomach virus in December, Clinton became dehydrated and fainted in her home. When she fell, she struck her head and suffered a concussion. Then, near the end of the month, while being scanned for any issues caused by the brain injury, doctors found a blood clot between Clinton’s brain and skull. It is not completely clear whether the clot was caused by the concussion, the stomach virus, or other health issues.
While trying to stay unbiased, there was a response politically by some who doubted the legitimacy of Clinton’s concussion, as she was scheduled to testify about Benghazi in the weeks following. Most, of course, have focused on the political lean of those people, and what they may or may not stand to gain by criticizing Clinton, but more than anything, I think their statements underline the continued misunderstanding of TBI and how dangerous it can be, and I strangely felt parallels to my own concussion.
Because of an absence of any apparent physical ailments, many people believe concussions are non-serious issues that you can “get over” very quickly. Beyond that, many doubt any non-tangible symptoms you may have because there is no physical proof. Political opponents to Clinton did exactly that claiming it was a suspiciously convenient time for Clinton to become injured. My friends and co-workers kept telling me they thought I was playing up symptoms to get extensions on deadlines or get out of doing things, because to the plain eye everything was fine.
Hillary’s concussion does seem to be as minor as one could hope for; she suffered no brain damage or any other complications aside from the discovery of the clot. But only Clinton and a few others know exactly what symptoms she may be dealing with, and public skepticism to the serious nature of TBI needs to be dealt with.
That isn’t the only lesson to be learned from Clinton’s concussion, however. As Doctor Ann Engelland shows, there is more to glean from the recent headlines. While trying to recover from the concussion, Hillary Clinton was told by doctors to work from home, and to rest. While the Secretary of State could by no means completely neglect her duties, one of the most important factors in healing from a concussion is “brain rest” and withdrawal from activities.
Concussions are more common than most people realize, and they aren’t just an issue for athletes. Complications, however, are rare. After being examined by a professional, there is no major need for multiple scans unless the doctors report finding anything outside the normal.