We’ve heard a lot about concussions in sports recently. A concussion is the mildest type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI happens when a bump, blow or other head injury damages the brain.
Falls account for 40 percent of TBIs. Accidents that cause a blow to the head and auto accidents are other common causes of TBIs. Millions of people suffer from brain injuries every year. More than half require professional medical care. The worst head injuries can result in permanent brain damage or even death. Brain injuries contribute to the deaths of about 50,000 Americans every year.
If you or someone you care about has a traumatic brain injury, see a health care professional. If you think the injury may be severe, seek immediate medical attention.
TBI can cause changes in:
Symptoms of a TBI may not appear for days or weeks after the injury. A concussion can result in:
If the TBI is severe, a person may have additional symptoms including:
To determine the severity of a traumatic brain injury, your health care professional will use a neurological exam and imaging tests.
Treatment and outcome depends on how severe the injury is. People with severe injuries usually need rehabilitation to recover.
If there’s any question about the severity of a head injury, see a health care professional.