Most people have never heard of a “coup-countercoup” brain injury until it happens to them or to a loved one. The term is French for “blow-counterblow.” In these injuries, two different parts (lobes) of the brain are affected – usually on opposite sides.
They typically happen when someone strikes their head on a hard object. That could be the steering wheel in a car crash or a piece of machinery at work. That initial blow is the “coup.” When the impact of that blow is so strong that the brain moves inside the skull, it can cause a second blow (the “contrecoup”) on the opposite side.
Why injuries to two parts of the brain can cause very different symptoms
Since each lobe is responsible for different skills and functions, someone who suffers from this type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can experience wide-ranging symptoms. For example, an injury to the frontal lobe can cause problems with memory, judgment, concentration and decision-making. It can even cause personality changes.
If a blow to the frontal lobe causes the brain to move against the parietal lobe in the back, the victim can also have problems with hand-eye coordination, direction (including problems distinguishing left and right) and issues with perceiving pain and temperature changes.
That’s a lot to deal with and can make it difficult, if not impossible, to work or even go about your daily life. Eventually, with proper treatment, people with this type of injury can look forward to at least partial recovery. That treatment could include physical and occupational therapy in addition to other treatments that can help the brain re-wire itself.
Early diagnosis and treatment is essential
It’s crucial, however, to get a correct diagnosis as soon as possible after an injury. While you may feel like you only hurt one part of your head, you could in fact be dealing with an injury to two different parts of your brain.
That’s why after a crash or other incident involving the head, it’s necessary to get medical treatment as quickly as possible. There are multiple imaging techniques available that can detect brain and other internal injuries.
If your injury was caused by someone else, don’t agree to a settlement until you know the full extent of your injuries, what is required to treat them and how they’ll affect your life. Getting sound legal advice can help you get the compensation you need and deserve.