Causes of a Child Coup-Contrecoup Injury

By Tom Kiley on October 21, 2010

Traumatic brain injuries in the United States can often result in permanent disability and even death. Unfortunately, brain injury is quite common, with more than 1.7 million new cases every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Children are unfortunately a part of that statistic. Their young age does not make them immune to child head injury, but can actually make them more vulnerable because their brains are still developing. One type of child head injury is known as coup-contrecoup, and it has the potential to cause twice as much damage as other forms of child head injury. 

Causes of a Coup-Contrecoup Injury 

A coup-contrecoup injury is sustained much like other forms of child head injury, with a hard blow to the head. 

The most common causes of a coup-contrecoup injury include: 

  • car accidents;
  • bicycle accidents;
  • child abuse
  • sports injuries; and
  • falls. 

What sets a coup-contrecoup injury apart from other forms of child head injury is that its damage is two-fold. First, an object hits the head. Brain injury not only occurs at the site of the impact, but the force of the blow is so strong that the brain actually slams into the other side of the skull. 

This is known as a primary impact (coup) and secondary impact (contrecoup), and means that the child has the potential to sustain severe damage in not just 1, but 2 areas of the brain.   

A coup-contrecoup injury is a tell-tale sign that blunt head trauma has occurred. One of the most common causes of blunt head trauma and a resulting coup-contrecoup injury is car accidents. For example, if a child is in a car at the time of a Massachusetts accident and the car suddenly stops, the front of the child’s head could smash against a window, windshield or other object. When this occurs, the child’s brain could smack against the back of the head, resulting in an injury to the front and back of the head. 

A coup-contrecoup injury carries serious risk for traumatic brain injury and brain damage. This is because when the head sustains the primary impact or when the brain smashes against the skull (secondary impact), the brain has the potential to hemorrhage. When the blood seeps into the layers of brain tissue, the brain can swell, and intense pressure may be placed on fragile membranes. A coup-contrecoup injury could eventually lead to a reduction in the brain’s blood flow, which results in brain damage.  

Symptoms of a Coup-Contrecoup Injury  

The signs of a coup-contrecoup injury are similar to the symptoms of child head injuries in general. If your child has recently been in a car or sports accident, and you start to notice some of the symptoms listed below, you’ll want to seek immediate medical attention. This holds true even if the accident occurred a few days or even weeks before the emergence of symptoms. 

Some of the symptoms of a coup-contrecoup injury include: 

  • memory loss;
  • dizziness;
  • balance problems;
  • blurred vision;
  • constant lethargy; and
  • mood swings. 

Compensation for Your Child’s Coup-Contrecoup Injury  

If your child did sustain a coup-contrecoup injury as a result of someone else’s actions, you can seek compensation on behalf of your child in the form of a child injury claim. Talk with a Massachusetts child brain injury attorney about the circumstances surrounding your child’s coup-contrecoup injury to determine whether you do indeed have a strong claim. 

A Massachusetts child brain injury attorney’s legal knowledge will prove paramount in cases of coup-contrecoup injury, since the true extent of damage from your child’s injury may not be realized until months or years later. A Massachusetts child brain injury attorney can work with you to make sure you file your child injury claim within the state’s 3-year statute of limitations, to seek the compensation that your child and family deserve. 

When to Hire a Massachusetts Child Brain Injury Attorney 
If your child has suffered serious injury because of the negligence of another, order a FREE copy of Tom Kiley’s child injury book, Dealing with a Nightmare: The Essential Steps to Take if Your Child Suffers a Serious Injury. The Massachusetts child brain injury lawyers at Kiley Law Group serves clients in the greater Boston area and will work with you through every step of your injury claim. For a FREE  Evaluation of your child injury case, contact us today: 1-800-930-8145.

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