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The Many Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

Steve Wagner

More than half of all traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a result of falls and auto accidents. Nearly a third of fatal TBIs are caused by auto accidents alone. Needless to say, personal injury lawyers see many clients who have been affected by brain injuries. Despite the fact that we commonly speak in generalities, such as head injuries or traumatic brain injuries, the truth is there are many types of brain injury. Minor concussions are brain injuries that usually heal with little long-term impact, unless, of course, there are repeated concussions. Other brain injuries change lives in an instant.

Classification of Severity of TBI

A traumatic brain injury is most simply defined as an injury caused to the brain by an external physical force. Degenerative and congenital brain abnormalities are not typically referred to as TBIs. Three different levels of TBI denote the severity of the injury: Mild TBI, Moderate TBI, and Severe TBI.

Mild TBI may involve a loss of consciousness of a few seconds or minutes. With a mild TBI, the victim may actually not lose consciousness at all, but may be dazed or confused temporarily. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, memory or concentration problems, mood changes, and depression.

Moderate and severe TBI are differentiated by the intensity of symptoms, including loss of consciousness for several minutes or hours, a more constant and worsening headache, convulsions, inability to wake, loss of coordination, serious confusion, agitation, speech difficulties, and even coma.

Brain Injury Categorized By Type of Damage

In addition to be classified by severity, brain injuries are also defined by the specific damage sustained by the brain. Concussions are the most common and are caused by an impact to the head or a sudden change in movement (such as in whiplash cases). Penetration injuries are exactly what they sound like. They occur when an object pokes through the skull and brain.

Contusions are bruises on the brain. Just as with other bruises, they are caused by direct impact and are a result of bleeding. A coup-contrecoup injury is a special kind of contusion caused by a drastic shifting of the brain inside the school. The result is a bruise or contusion on both sides of the brain.

Diffuse-Axonal injuries occur when actual nerve tissue tears because the brain cannot keep up with the motion of the skull and are caused by severe shaking or intense rotational force. One example of this kind of injury is Shaken Baby Syndrome.

All types of brain injury can cause impairment, and since most TBIs are closed-head injuries, it is critical the victim receive prompt medical attention. Since brain injuries can present mildly at first and worsen quickly, even the most minor concussion necessitates an attentive caregiver for at least a short time. If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing, the brain and head injury lawyers at Wagner Reese may be able to help. Call us today at (888) 204-8440 to begin the conversation with a free initial consultation.


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