Can Hitting Your Head Cause Seizures?

Home / FAQ

Head injuries are serious whenever the brain is affected. Hitting your head hard enough or having a violent blow or jolt to your head can cause a traumatic brain injury, better known as a concussion.

Most people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries do not have seizures, but they are a possible complication of this type of injury.

As for how often can concussions cause seizures: seizures happen in about one to five out of every ten people who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury. Their likelihood depends on the location of the head injury and its severity.

The seizure usually occurs where the scar or damage is located as a consequence of the trauma. Most seizures occur within the first several weeks following the head injury, but it’s possible for them to occur months or years later, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Medications have been successful in helping people return to their normal activities in about 75% of all cases. In rare circumstances, seizures can cause a decline in cognitive ability and may even lead to death.

A woman in front of an orange background, with an upset expression on her face, holding her forehead in pain.

How Long Can a Seizure Last Before Brain Damage?

According to John Hopkins Medicine, a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes, or having more than one seizure within a 5-minute period, without returning to a normal level of consciousness between episodes, is called status epilepticus. This is a medical emergency that may lead to permanent brain damage or death.

What Happens During a Seizure?

When there is a sudden abnormal electrical disturbance in the brain, that person is having a seizure. The symptoms associated with seizures may include a combination of the following:

  • Hearing sounds
  • Strange smells
  • Feeling odd
  • Having a strange taste in your mouth
  • Vision changes or seeing images or spots
  • Sudden tiredness or dizziness
  • Not being able to speak or understand others
  • Unresponsiveness and staring
  • Strange movement of your head, body, arms, legs, or eyes, such as stiffening or shaking
  • Chewing, lip-smacking, or fumbling movements

Seizures and their symptoms happen suddenly and uncontrollably. They typically only last a few minutes or less but sometimes can continue for five to ten minutes.

People suffering from a seizure often lose control of their bladder and bowels and may bite their tongue or cheeks. Once a seizure has subsided, the person usually feels weak, exhausted, and confused and may have difficulty speaking or understanding other people for a while.

People who have had a severe seizure of over two minutes may have trouble standing or walking and may need assistance taking care of themselves for at least the next few days.

Seizures After a Traumatic Brain Injury

When someone has a seizure during the first week after a traumatic brain injury, it is called an early post-traumatic seizure. Approximately one-quarter of patients who have an early post-traumatic seizure will experience another seizure months or even years later.

Having a seizure after the first week has passed after a traumatic brain injury is called a late post-traumatic seizure. The risk of having another seizure after a late post-traumatic seizure is high. About 80% of these people experience another seizure.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is when someone has had more than one seizure. This condition may be permanent. Doctors are able to speculate your likelihood of having seizures based on the cause, severity, and location of your brain injury.

For instance, a subdural hematoma is bleeding between the brain and the skull and can cause seizures. Over 60% of people who have had more than two surgeries on their brains after suffering a brain injury will experience a seizure. 65% of brain injuries caused by bullet wounds leave people with seizures.

Other conditions that may increase the risk of having a seizure include:

  • High fever
  • Loss of sleep and extreme fatigue
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Chemical changes in the body, such as low sodium or magnesium, or high calcium

What Medications Are Used to Treat Seizures?

Antiepileptic drugs are used to control seizures. These medications are also used to help with other conditions, such as restlessness, chronic pain, and mood instability. The type of medication you receive will depend on the following factors:

  • Your type of seizures
  • Your overall health
  • Your age
  • Any side effects you get

Side effects from anti-epileptic drugs typically subside after taking the medication for three to five days. Common side effects consist of:

  • Dizziness or lack of balance
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Trembling
  • Double vision

To determine an adequate dosage, blood tests are often performed, which will also help to ensure that the medication is not causing any adverse effects.

It is vitally important to inform your doctor right away if you become pregnant or are trying to conceive a child. These medications can cause birth defects in newborns, although it is rare.

Some people will require two or more anti-epileptic drugs to stop their seizures. Some common medications are as follows:

  • Carbamazepine (also known as Tegretol)
  • Lamotrigine (also known as Lamictal)
  • Levetiracetam (also known as Keppra)
  • Gabapentin (also known as Neurontin)
  • Oxcarbazepine (also known as Trileptal)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin/ fosphenytoin (also known as Dilantin)
  • Pregabalin (also known as Lyrica)
  • Topiramate (also known as Topamax)
  • Valproic acid or valproate (also known as Depakene or Depakote)
  • Zonisamide (also known as Zonegran)

What Happens if the Medications Do Not Stop the Seizures?

In the rare case that the medications are not stopping the seizures, your doctor will most likely refer you to the experts at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. These experts will perform further testing and examinations.

The specialists may conduct brain wave tests and capture a seizure on video to help identify the cause of your seizures. These tests may help identify the correct medication or medication combination, or they may determine that other types of treatment may be beneficial for solving your problems.

What Should Caregivers Do During a Seizure?

When someone is having a seizure, caregivers or family members should watch closely what happens and later explain it in detail to medical professionals. They should keep a journal of the date, time, duration, and description of each seizure.

The doctor will use the recorded information to adjust the type of medications used to control the seizures.

Most seizures do not cause serious injuries, and they do not last for very long. Caregivers should still know what to do to prevent injuries to the person having a seizure.

  • Loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck.
  • Make sure the person does not fall. Hold them steady if the person is sitting on a chair, couch, or bed. If the person is standing, get them to the ground safely.
  • Turn them and their head to the side so that anything in the mouth, even spit, does not block the throat or cause choking.
  • It can be dangerous to put anything in the mouth as you can get bitten.
  • If you know CPR, check the heart rate in the neck. Start CPR if there is no pulse. Call 911.
  • Listen for breathing at the mouth and extend the neck if breathing is difficult. If there is no breathing, begin giving rescue breaths by sealing your lips over the person’s mouth and breathing two quick breaths. Continue breathing for them every 5 seconds until they start breathing on their own. Call 911.
  • If this is the first seizure after a traumatic brain injury, call the person’s doctor for advice.
  • If the seizure does not stop after 3 minutes, call 911.
  • If the seizure stops within 3 minutes, call the person’s doctor.
  • If the patient does not return to normal within 20 minutes after the seizure, call 911.

Contact the Heavy Hitters to Support Your Case for Compensation

Seizures are a medical emergency, especially when they are caused by a head injury. Many people experience long-term symptoms from head injuries and are also at an increased risk of having seizures later in life.

Victims and their families often feel overwhelmed, isolated, stressed, frustrated, and confused about what to do next to be able to continue with their lives.

Personal injury attorneys help by ensuring victims receive full compensation for their injuries, so they can receive the treatment, medication, and care that they need.

By hiring Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters, you will have a brain injury lawyer who is fully invested in your case. They will ensure a full investigation into the accident that caused your injury, and they will collect evidence to prove negligence and build a strong case using medical evaluations, police reports, and witness statements.

The lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson are experienced and will help you determine an accurate assessment of the damages you have suffered.

Traumatic brain injuries causing seizures affect every aspect of your life, including your finances. Rehabilitation is expensive, and you should not have to worry about being able to afford your treatment, medications, special equipment, or other care that you need as a result of someone else’s negligent actions.

Our lawyers will make sure your compensation is enough to cover everything you need.

You should not have to fight for what you are legally entitled to receive, especially while you are in recovery. Tatum & Atkinson are aggressive and will not stop fighting on your behalf until you recover everything that is rightfully yours.

If you or your loved one has suffered from the effects of seizures from a traumatic brain injury, you should have all the support you can get. For a free consultation about your case, call (800) LAW-0804 today to get your process started.

When we take your case, we won’t charge you anything until we win or settle it for you.

Request a call back