Often referred to as a “TBI”, a traumatic brain injury can have a serious effect on a person’s life. Unlike most injuries, which are instantly apparent and have the natural ability to self-heal, the symptoms of a TBI are not always immediate, and the outcome of the injury is not always certain. Those who survive a TBI can face effects lasting just a few days or suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. As the brain serves as the body’s operating system, a TBI may not only disrupt cognitive abilities, but it may also result in impairment to a person’s motor function, sensation, and emotion.
A TBI results from some type of impact to the head — whether a bump or a jolt, direct or not — that disrupts the normal function of the brain. This disruption usually occurs after bruising of tissue, damage to blood vessels, or injury to nerves, and the severity and duration of the symptoms a person will suffer depends on the extent of that damage.
Those who suffer from a “mild” TBI are usually diagnosed with a concussion and will experience a brief change in mental status or consciousness, sometimes accompanied by physical symptoms, such as blurred vision, dizziness, or vomiting. Although most tend to recover quickly from the symptoms associated with mild TBI, the recovery process for some may take longer, particularly for older adults, young children, and those with pre-existing cognitive disorders. Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), once a person has suffered a concussion, not only is he more prone to future TBIs, but he is also more at risk for conditions such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
When a TBI falls on the more severe side of the spectrum, a person may experience — in addition to the above mild symptoms — an extended period of unconsciousness, permanent disability, or even death. The CDC reported that almost 50% of individuals hospitalized with a severe TBI suffer from a related disability lasting for a year or more following the injury. Those disabilities tend to affect the following functions:
- Cognitive function (e.g., attention and memory)
- Motor function (e.g., extreme weakness and impaired coordination/balance)
- Sensation (e.g., hearing, vision, and touch)
- Emotion (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression, impulse control, and personality changes)1
Although little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage, it is important that a person seek medical attention to stabilize his or her condition and prevent further injury. In most mild cases, treatment normally consists of X-rays to ensure there are no bone fractures or spinal instability. Under more severe circumstances, a person may receive additional imaging and require rehabilitation or other treatment programs including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry, psychology/psychiatry, and social support. 2
Though 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions, a mild TBI can sometimes have just as devastating of an effect as some severe TBIs,1 especially if left untreated. If you, or a loved one, suffer from any of the above TBI symptoms, contact your medical provider immediately to receive the appropriate treatment. To learn more about traumatic brain injuries, including prevention and recovery, visit www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Information-Page.
Attorney Chelsie M. Lamie is a personal injury attorney located in Safety Harbor, Florida. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or slip and fall accident, please call 727-501-3464 for a free consultation. You can also learn more about Attorney Lamie at www.chelsielamie.com.
 “Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page.” National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 June 2017, www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Information-Page.
 “Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussions.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 6 July 2017, www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury.