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Chrissie Cole
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“Minor” Head Injuries That Turn Deadly

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The death of actress Natasha Richardson in March, from what initially appeared to be a minor head injury is more common than you might think.

Richardson was alert and conversational after she fell and bumped her head at the end of a skiing lesson. It wasn’t until she was back in her hotel room an hour later that she developed a severe headache and her condition quickly worsened.

The manner, in which Richardson died, is not all that uncommon, doctors say.

It’s "something we call the ‘talk and die’ syndrome,” Dr. Steven Flanagan, director of Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told FOXNews.com at the time of Richardson’s death.

“What this implies is that someone hits their head and they are seemingly OK initially," he said. "But then they get a rapid collection of blood — usually called epidural hemorrhage — and that means bleeding between the skull and the brain.”

Epidural hemorrhage symptoms include: headache, altered mental status, weakness on one side of the body and loss of consciousness.

When a person suffers a serious brain injury, an emergency CAT scan is needed to pinpoint the exact location of the hemorrhage. The patient will then need immediate surgery.

While people should use caution when suffering a painful head injury, Dr. Flanagan says, they should not panic over every bump and bruise.

In the U.S., about 1.5 to 2 million people incurs traumatic brain injury primarily in vehicle accidents, falls, acts of violence and sports accidents. 50,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).