Traumatic Brain Injury

Though traumatic head injuries (TBI) are not always objectively apparent at the time of accident, common indications that TBI may result are loss of consciousness, inability to recall events immediately before or after the accident and alteration in mental state immediately following, such as feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused.

After an accident, common symptoms of TBI in adults are the following:

persistent neck pain
ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
lapses in attention, perception, judgment or information processing
difficulty with memory, concentration, or decision making
trouble with cognition, abstract concepts, and time and space relationship
limitations on reading and writing skills
slowness in thinking, speaking or taking action
getting lost or easily confused
persistent low-grade headaches
feeling tired all the time, lacking energy or motivation
problems associated with sleep, such as insomnia or oversleeping
reduced strength, endurance and coordination
feeling light-headed or dizzy
onset of seizures
volatility in your mood – apathy, irritability, anxiety and/or depression
difficulty maintaining your balance
increased sensitivity to sounds, light or distractions
blurred vision
reduction of sense of smell or taste

Because children are less aware of their habits and normal functioning than adults, it is important for adults to monitor children carefully if it is suspected that they are suffering from a TBI. Symptoms to look for in children include:

loss of energy or tiring easily
reduced interest in favorite toys or activities
irritability or crankiness
changes in eating or sleeping patters
changes in the manner in which the child plays, both alone and with others
difficulties in school
deterioration of recently learned skills
loss of balance, or instability while walking

The exact effects on an individual who suffers a TBI will vary greatly, depending on the force of impact the brain suffered and the location(s) of the injury on the brain. It is important to obtain a thorough medical examination following any accident so as to immediately determine all injuries received. To appreciate the extent of the injury, it is helpful to understand medical scales used to measures injuries involving TBI.

The Glasgow Coma Scale relates a patient’s ability to open his/her eyes, and respond to verbal commands and responses. Each level of response indicates the degree of brain activity.

Glasgow Coma Scale

Eyes Score

Open spontaneously 4

Open to verbal command 3

Open to pain 2

No response 1

Best motor responses to verbal command

Obeys verbal command 6

Best motor responses to painful stimulus

Localizes pain 5

Flexion – withdrawal 4

Flexion – abnormal 3

Extension 2

No response 1

Best verbal response

Oriented and converses 5

Disoriented and converses 4

Inappropriate words 3

Incomprehensively sounds 2

No response 1

The lowest score is a 3 and indicates no response from the patient. A person who is alert and oriented would be rated at 15.

In cases involving Traumatic Brain Injury, it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, prove the nature and extent of your injuries and to enable expert medical witnesses to support the cause of your injuries.