Understanding coup-contrecoup brain injuries

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2022 | Catastrophic Injuries

Did you know that if your head strikes a hard surface, you may actually suffer a brain injury in two different parts of your brain? It’s called a coup-countercoup brain injury. That’s French for “blow-counterblow.”

That’s an apt description for what typically happens to the head and brain that causes this type of injury. Generally, someone strikes their head on a hard surface or object, like a hard floor, the ground, a steering wheel, a piece of equipment or a post.

That initial blow is the “coup.” When the impact of that blow is so strong that the brain moves within the skull, that movement can cause another blow (contrecoup) to another part (lobe) of the brain. It’s usually on the opposite side of the initial blow.

The potential effects are numerous

Each of the brain’s lobes is responsible for different skills and functions that we take for granted. Therefore, someone who has suffered a coup-contrecoup brain injury can experience wide-ranging symptoms, including problems with:

  • Memory
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Concentration
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Problems perceiving pain and temperature
  • Issues with discerning direction and distinguishing between right and left

That’s just in two of the four lobes of the brain – the front and back (parietal), which are often the ones affected by a coup-contrecoup injury. This type of injury can affect your ability to work, go to school, take care of your family and live your normal life. There’s no way of knowing for certain if and when someone with a coup-contrecoup injury will regain these functions.

If your injury was caused by another person or entity, it’s crucial not to reach a settlement with them or their insurance company until you know how you’ll be affected in the short term and long term. It’s wise to have experienced legal guidance to protect your right to fair compensation and justice.



FindLaw Network
Nathan A. Cobb