FDA - Traumatic Brain Injury: What to Know About Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A car accident. A football tackle. An unfortunate fall. These things—and more—can cause head injuries. Head injuries can happen to anyone, at any age, and they can damage the brain.

Here’s how damage can happen: A sudden movement of the head and brain can cause the brain to bounce or twist in the skull, injuring brain cells, breaking blood vessels, and creating chemical changes. This damage is called a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to study TBI and encourages the development of medical devices to help diagnose and treat it.

Causes and Symptoms of TBI

TBI is often caused by a bump, blow, jolt, or explosive blast to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the brain’s normal function. Not all hits to the head result in TBI. But when it happens, TBI can range from mild (like a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to severe (like a longer period of unconsciousness or major problems with thinking and behavior after injury).

About 75 percent of TBIs (or 3 out of every 4) that occur each year are mild. If a person has the symptoms of TBI after a blow to the head, then the brain has been injured. Mild TBIs always involve some degree of brain injury.

To read more on symptoms of mild, moderate, severe TBI, and diagnosis click here