Traumatic Brain Injury

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Experienced Sports Neurology

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when some external force hits or jars the head and causes an injury to the brain. Most of the time, this type of injury occurs during accidents, such as vehicular accidents or falling and hitting the head. However, any violent blow to the skull or extreme shaking of the upper body can cause damage. Penetration of the brain, from an object such as a bullet or a fragment of the skull, can cause a traumatic brain injury as well.

These types of injuries are very serious. They can result in bruising and bleeding of the brain, torn tissues, permanent brain damage, and in some cases - death. Traumatic brain injuries can create a variety of effects, both physical and psychological. Some of the symptoms may show up immediately, while others can take days, weeks and sometimes longer to appear.

Some possible symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness for several minutes to several hours
  • Headaches that worsen over time
  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Nausea
  • dilation of one or both pupils
  • Clear fluids that drain from the ears or the nose
  • Loss of coordination
  • Numb fingers and toes
  • Convulsions or seizures

People who have sustained a traumatic brain injury may also suffer from sensory issues such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and even a bad taste in the mouth. Sensitivity to light and sound are possible too. Some of the cognitive symptoms to watch for include memory and concentration problems, changes in mood, and feelings of anxiety or depression. They can have slurred speech, combativeness, and a large amount of confusion.

Some of the Most Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Telling someone to be careful is not enough to keep people safe from these types of injuries. They can stem from a variety of different activities and actions. Falling-even falling out of bed or slipping in the bathtub-can result in a blow to the head that can result in cerebral trauma. Vehicle collisions are another common cause of traumatic brain injury. Participation in sports is an often talked about as a source of risk for injury and trauma to the brain.

Boxing, football, hockey, and skateboarding are some of the sports that are the largest culprits of traumatic brain injury, but any activity that results in a blow to or jarring of the head can cause it. Violence is another factor to consider when evaluating these types of injuries. Domestic violence, child abuse, gunshot wounds, and other types of violent crimes account for a significant percentage of traumatic brain injuries.

When should you see a doctor?

You should always take the time to see a traumatic brain injury expert if you or a loved one suffers a blow to the head or forceful jarring of the body. If you notice any of the signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury, you should seek emergency medical care.

Brain injuries are easy to ignore, but that can often be a mistake. Traumatic brain injuries that are moderate or severe should never be ignored. Doing so can lead to unnecessary and long-term damage.

As a board certified neurologist with 20 years of experience, I, Dr. Vernon B. Williams, have served as a sport concussion witness for both plaintiff and defense in medical cases.

For more information on my neurology expertise and how it can be beneficial to you, please contact me today.