Brain and Neurological Injury
Brain and Neurological Injury, oftentimes referred to as “traumatic brain injury” (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. Trauma is defined as any body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from accident, injury, or impact. Such injuries can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.
Symptoms of a TBI can be mild or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.
A person with severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation. Severe brain injury is associated with loss of consciousness for more than thirty minutes and memory loss after the injury or penetrating skull injury longer than twenty-four hours. Survivors may have limited function of arms or legs, abnormal speech or language, loss of thinking ability or emotional problems. The range of injuries and degree of recovery is broad and varies on an individual basis.
The effects of TBI can be profound. Individuals with severe injuries can be left in long-term unresponsive states. For many people with severe TBI, long-term rehabilitation is often necessary to maximize function and independence. Even with mild TBI, the consequences to a person’s life can be dramatic. Change in brain function can have a dramatic impact on family, job, social and community interaction.