Lansing Man Speaks Out About Dangers Of Concussions

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It may seem easy to shrug off a concussion diagnosis, but experts warn concussions are a serious brain injury and should be treated as such.

A lot of people associate concussions with athletes, but any kind of accident can lead to a concussion.

Jaime Cruz describes himself as many things -- a husband, a father to three young kids, a U.S. veteran, and a business student at Lansing Community College. When a series of accidents led to multiple concussions, Cruz's symptoms began to overwhelm his normal life.

"I wasn't playing football," said Cruz. "I just fell off a truck and then a couple of years later I had three car accidents within a six month period. I was having trouble sleeping, headaches every day. I was stuttering, I had slurred speech, difficulty eating and concentrating."

So Cruz decided to reach out for help from the Origami Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center. The co-executive director of Origami, Eric Hannah, says Cruz did the right thing. He says one of the major hurdles to treating mild brain injuries, like concussions, is simply getting people to report their symptoms.

"I think some people do feel like maybe it will go away, or it's temporary, or there's no real lasting effects," Hannah explained. "And while a single concussion may have less significant long term implications, the risk increases with each concussion or injury."

Playing sports like football increases the risk of getting a concussion, along with other activities.

"Riding a motorcycle, riding a bike, snow boarding - certainly wearing a helmet is one of the first precautions," said Hannah.

If there is a head injury, pay attention to any symptoms that may surface immediately or even weeks later. When in doubt, always speak out.

"Your body's going to tell you something is wrong," Cruz said. "You should listen. Get it checked out. It couldn't hurt. It couldn't hurt."

If you think you or a loved one may have had a concussion, watch for changes in behavior or mood, an inability to remember certain events, or symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, and headaches. Those could all be warnings to seek out medical help.

So the bottom line is - if you're feeling symptoms, report it. Talk to family, talk to friends, and get yourself checked out.

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