Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Most cases of brain injury that occur each year are mild, but people with severe injuries may require a lengthy recovery period, and their symptoms can linger for a long time.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of brain injury caused by a blow or jolt to, or penetration of the head. A TBI can occur during a car accident, from being tackled during a football game, or from a combat-related wound.

After a TBI, nerve cells in the brain may be damaged. The neurons may have trouble doing their job of carrying signals to different parts of the brain. If you have a brain injury, you could have trouble thinking or moving normally. Your brain may also have trouble keeping your body working properly.

Most cases of brain injury that occur each year are mild. A concussion is a minor form of brain injury. But, many TBIs can be severe. Severe brain injuries require emergency care. People with severe injuries may require a lengthy recovery period, and their symptoms can linger for a long time.

Understanding Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs can cause many symptoms, depending on their severity and which part of the brain they affect. These are possible symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble thinking
  • Mood changes
  • Personality changes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Trouble waking up
  • Problems with coordination
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs

Your healthcare provider will ask you questions about how the injury occurred and if you are having any symptoms. He or she will also likely want to know if you were unconscious after your injury and will ask you questions to evaluate your thought process.

Your healthcare provider may want to do X-rays or a CT or MRI scan of your head and neck to assess the extent of the injury.

A mild brain injury may not require medical attention. More severe cases require medical care.

If your injury is severe, you may need surgery to treat bleeding or bruising. After treatment, you may also need rehabilitation. During rehab, therapists may help you regain abilities and skills that were lost due to the injury. For example, you may need help learning to speak, move, and take care of yourself again. Social support is also an important part of rehab for you and your family.

Available Near You