Head injury?

Patrick

Well-Known Member
I was out on the mountain bike yesterday, and a friend of mine took a decent spill, that resulted in a likely concussion.

This got me thinking, from an aviation medical standpoint, at what point are you obligated to report something like this to your AME (and let's add the caveat here that plenty of us go to work with minor colds without reporting them, etc).

If you did report a head injury, what is the FAA's policy on this? I remember hearing a story about a guy who reported a concussion, and then promptly had his medical yanked, and it took over a year to get it back. Any validity to this?
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
This is a case dependent question. If one just had their "bell rung" with no loss of memory or headaches and no loss of consciousness it is reported and explained but remains a minor issue. If there was a loss of consciousness for more the a few minutes, persistent headaches or memory problems, then it does become an issue.
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
Doc, a follow on question. The Mrs. and I both passed out and hit out heads (cause traced to bad oysters) this year. I ended up going to the hospital (turns out I am healthy and bumped my head). How should I report this?

(Turns out bad oysters can give you incredibly low BP - went to hospital out of an abundance of caution)
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
So at what point does said head injury become an issue of medical revocation or suspension? If you have persistent headaches, loss of consciousness for more than a few minutes, etc, what DOES happen to your medical? Do you have to get a head or brain wave scan, surrender your medical for 6 months, etc?
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
If significant, they require a full neurological evaluation. Remember, the results of head injury can be seizures, loss of cognitive function (the inability to remember things as an example) and chronic headaches. These can interfere with pilot function in the cockpit and are of a safety concern.

I currently have an airline pilot who had his bell rung in a basketball game and still has loss of short-term memory and the inability to perform mathematical calculations a year later. So these things can be significant even though they appear simple in the beginning.
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
OK, so, if you got your bell rung hard enough during an injury, you'd have to get an evaluation. Check. So, I presume, that could then go one of two ways.

a) no problems + nothing to do with your medical = go back to work

b) issues with memory, headaches, etc + medical suspension or revocation = not go back to work

In the case of b) what determines how long the suspension is? Is it simply pending a a normal result from an evaluation, or would it be a minimum of say, 6 months? If you have an evaluation and it still shows issues, would you then be out at least another, say, 6 months?
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang Member
I saw a local doc for a follow up, he said no worries, just a bruise - good to fly, pay the lady on the way out.

In general is that the right thing to do? Or better to see someone more aviation saavy (hell, an AME would probably have been cheaper)
 
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