Brain Injuries Demand Your Immediate Attention

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.

Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain Injury Danger Signs in Children

Take your child to the emergency department right away if they have a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body


  • Have one of the other symptoms listed here.
  • Won’t stop crying and can’t be consoled.
  • Won’t nurse or eat.

TBI can cause changes in:

  • Thinking
  • Sensations
  • Language
  • Emotions

Symptoms of a TBI may not appear for days or weeks after the injury. A concussion can result in:

  • Headache or neck pain
  • Nausea
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness

If the TBI is severe, a person may have additional symptoms including:

  • A headache that gets worse or does not go away
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms and legs
  • Dilated eye pupils

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.

Meet the Author

Ofer M. Zikel, MD, is a neurosurgeon at Aurora Medical Center in Summit, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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