Concussions vs Brain Injuries – What are the differences?

By Zoe Diss

If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury, whether it’s a bump from a fall or a sports-related collision, it’s natural to wonder if it’s a concussion or something more serious.

If you or a loved one have suffered a head injury, whether it’s a bump from a fall or a sports-related collision, it’s natural to wonder if it’s a concussion or something more serious.

While both involve the brain, there are key distinctions between a concussion and a broader brain injury. Understanding these differences is crucial for seeking appropriate medical attention and potentially pursuing a brain injury compensation claim if your injury arose from a medical or professional error.

Is a concussion a brain injury?

In short, yes. concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs encompass a spectrum of severity, with concussions on the milder end. They occur when the brain is jolted inside the skull, disrupting its normal function. This disruption can cause a variety of symptoms, but unlike more severe TBIs, concussions typically don’t involve bleeding or tissue damage.

Symptoms of a concussion

Concussion symptoms can vary and may not appear immediately. Common signs include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Balance problems
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances

If you experience any of these symptoms after a head injury, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation from a doctor. Early diagnosis and proper rest are crucial for a full recovery.

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Symptoms of a more severe brain injury

While the symptoms of concussions usually resolve themselves within days or weeks, more severe TBIs can have lasting consequences. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Loss of consciousness for an extended period
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Drainage of clear fluid from the nose or ears
  • Worsening headaches
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Increased confusion

If you suspect someone has sustained a severe brain injury, call emergency services immediately.

Long-term effects of TBIs

Most people recover fully from a concussion, with no long-term effects. However, some individuals experience persistent symptoms like headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. This is known as Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Severe TBIs can have a significant impact on a person’s life, leading to:

  • Cognitive impairments
  • Mobility problems
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Emotional and behavioural changes

Blackwater Law successfully represented Catherine in a brain injury claim after she suffered a long-term brain injury as a result of a car accident.


Medical negligence and brain injuries

If your concussion or a more severe brain injury resulted from medical professional error, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim or clinical negligence claim. This could be due to a missed diagnosis, inadequate treatment, or a failure to warn you about the risks of a procedure. A specialist medical negligence solicitor or clinical negligence solicitor can advise you on your legal options and help you navigate the claims process.


Understanding the difference between a concussion and a brain injury is vital for ensuring you receive the right care. If you have suffered a head injury, seek medical attention promptly. Additionally, if you believe medical negligence contributed to your injury, speaking to a medical negligence solicitor can help you determine the best course of action.

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