I'm going to post this very vague question, then be away from the computer for the rest of the day so I won't be able to add much to the discussion til later.
Can we talk about what you've seen in friends or family who have had several/many concussions over the years? Behavior change? Etc? Something I read recently, maybe here, was talking about all the old crazy horse people who've maybe fallen off a few too many times and start to show signs of real damage. Got me thinking...
My best friend plays lax defense, so he has had several severe concussions. The biggest thing I notice about him is the emotional changes. After his last concussion especially, he seems to have major highs and lows emotionally. I'm talking, "oh my god I love my life" to "I want to die I hate this" in less than 12 hours...regularly. I'm sure the concussions aren't the only cause of this (actually I know they're not) but they have definitely made things worse.
Physically, he now has a heart condition, but doctors are unwilling to say if it is related to the concussions or not. At any rate, he's not cleared to resume contact sports until next fall. He has been in and out of hospitals since high school because of the concussions.
I thankfully don't have a lot of personal experience with this, but I work in NASCAR, and we just had the sport's most popular driver sit out a couple of weeks due to the aftereffects of a concussion, so there has been a lot of talk about this recently.
Mr. Heinz has issues with previous TBI's. As an outsider, I notice that he has trouble with problem solving and memory loss, among other things. The "fuzzy" feeling frustrates him quite a bit some times which can cause him to be moody and irritable.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
I feel like I have some permanent damage. At age 24, I had my second concussion, and there are just.... differences....
Memory (short and long term) is very hit and miss.
I really try to listen when SO is talking, but sometimes he will ask me about something, or if I did something, and I literally have NO recollection of us talking about it.
I've had two and my memory is definitely suffering because of them. Being in my early 20's, it's so frustrating not to be able to remember things on a day-to-day (or sometimes even minute-to-minute) basis!
I had 2 pretty serious ones, one at 17 and one at 20. Another mild one at 19 but that one had few effects.
For a year or so after each of the 2 major ones, I had volatile emotions, like SAcres describes -- almost manic. But I was warned that would be the case so I was able to deal with it. I am usually very even-keeled, so this was actually scary to see in myself -- I would snap at someone and immediately feel terrible. Couldn't really help it. This symptom went away.
After the first (major, short and long-term amnesia for a day, permanent long-term memory loss of about 10 days), I had a little difficulty studying for long periods of time but not anything debilitating. But that happened at the beginning of summer so my brain had a few months to recover before the college semester started. After the second (major; lost consciousness for several hours, had a seizure, nearly died) I had a much harder time. I started law school three weeks after the accident and it was not enough time. I couldn't focus well, and suffered severe chronic headache pretty much all the time. Should have taken the year off on medical leave but such is life. My volatile temper at the time insisted I was "just fine" and wouldn't consider it.
Of course I'm absent-minded fairly often and lose my keys as much as the next person but can't really blame those strictly on my head injuries...who isn't? I get serious migraines but don't think the TBIs made them worse -- in my family, they get worse until your 50s anyway, so the fact they got worse after the TBIs is likely correlation, not causation.
With a lot of symptoms, it is hard to know what is the result of your injury and what is just you and would have happened anyway. The important thing is to get yourself and your symptoms treated when you can (if you are depressed, etc.) Doesn't matter what causes it, just get it fixed! It's not like you can take back stepping in the stirrup that day.
On the memory issues -- are you getting enough sleep? I found it really helps if I get a solid 8 hours. That can compensate some for the TBI-based memory losses, at least it reduces the impact for me and gets me closer to normal.
I've had a few, one when I was a very young kid, from an accident in gym class, and then, probably a couple undiagnosed ones from riding. I'm in my mid-sixties and have a lousy short term memory. But, I've always been forgetful, especially about the names of people and things, even when I was a kid. Plus, alzheimers and dementia run in my family, so it's hard to tell what the cause is.
I realized in horror the last time I left the ER with a concussion dx that I had ALL the symptoms before I even hit my had that time. Knowing how I hit my head on bathroom sink I realized I must make Troy Aikmen look like a genius. He had 6 or so. I can remember at least a dozen HARD blows to my head. I guess I'm lucky in that I had no life threatening issues but I am feeling the effects of all the smacks.
I have trouble reading aloud or writing down a conversation I had (verbal to visual off), memory loss - long and short term, brain fog, can't find tight word when I need it, and I'm much grumpier than I used to be (although that could be from chronic pain too). My balance is pretty non existent too. My dr doesn't even want me riding my bike, let alone horses. I have other issues contributing too but I'm sure the multiple concussions over the last 30 years have added up... and I'm only 36.
"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here." ~ Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
I have had 2 major concussions. Neither were due to riding, although one was horse related.
The first one was when I was 8 years old and was pushed off the merry go round when it was going its fastest by a bully of a class mate. All the classic symptoms.
The second one was when I was 18. I was watering a horse that was being "stalled" in a run-in shed. I had a tube gate across the front. I was standing on the outside filling a water bucket just on the inside of the run in. The horse spooked at a loud noise and jumped the tube gate to get out of the run in. I turned to look at him when he spooked and as I turned I caught a shod hoof to the temple. Knocked out alone for hours. When I came to, I had no peripheral vision. It returned within a day, but had all the other classic symptoms.
It is a running joke in our household that I have NO short term memory. If I see something that needs to be done, I have to do it then, because I won't remember to do it later. I have to do my regular chores in order, or I will forget to do something.
I was forgetting my pocket book on a regular basis. I was even hanging it on the door knob, and would still get side tracked and forget the thing. I gave up on having a pocket book. I keep my id and credit cards in the back of my phone case and I keep some cash in the car.
It used to drive my husband CRAZY that I had such horrible short term memory. Now, not so much. He has gotten better about calling or texting gentle reminders of things that NEED to be done.
Having a calendar and alerts saves my but ALL the time. I put everything in my phone. Vet, farrier appts, to my carpool schedule, to my days to feed at the barn (we recently had to switch days around, which has totally screwed with my memory, even after 1 month on the schedule, I'm constantly questioning myself over whether today is my day or not).
I've had a tbi and too many concussions to count. I now have chronic vertigo. Sometimes so bad I have to crawl from my bed to the bathroom. Most of the time I can function. I have no depth perception. My short term memory stinks. I have 0 balance. Had I known this would happen I would have worn a helmet every ride.
There is no doubt that concussions are cumulative, and that the risk of sustaining a concussion increases with each previous concussion, and that the symptoms become more severe and last longer. The long-term effects are not so well understood and the literature is mixed (for example, usually studies that compare neurocognitive testing results of groups with 1 vs 2 concussions find no difference, while 1 vs 3 or 4 concussions find some difference, usually in tests of memory function), but it is accepted that lasting brain injury can occur from cumulative concussions that in themselves (had there been just 1 concussion) would probably not result in any long term effects.