Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain.
It can happen when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.
TBIs can range from a mild concussion to a severe injury that leads to death. The leading cause of TBIs is falls (35 percent), followed by motor vehicle accidents (17 percent), according to the Centers for Disease Control. In all cases, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Approximately half of patients with severe head injuries will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue).
Know the Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of a mild TBI include:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in ears
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Change in sleep pattern
- Trouble with memory, concentration, attention or thinking
In addition to the symptoms listed above, a person with a moderate or severe head injury may display:
- A headache that gets worse or does not go away
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Slurred speech
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
- Loss of coordination
- Increased confusion, restlessness or agitation