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What are Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms?

September 4, 2020Personal Injury

Head injuries are an unfortunate commonality that can happen during a car accident, work accident, or really whenever one suffers trauma to the head. When these injuries are severe they are referred to as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of a TBI. While brain injury symptoms vary, it’s important to understand them in order to properly identify when someone has suffered a TBI.

Common Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

TBIs are the result of brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, or violent blow, bump, or jolt to the head, or from a penetrating injury. These injuries can occur for a multitude of different reasons, but most commonly arise after a fall or car accident. While it is possible to fully recover from some TBIs, many come with life-altering effects that require long-term medical care.

When a TBI happens, it can have a wide range of physical and psychological effects. Some signs or brain injury symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may not appear until days or weeks later. Some of the most common brain injury symptoms to look for include:

Mild TBI Symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
  • A state of being dazed, confused, or disoriented
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, or changes in the ability to smell
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Feeling depressed or anxious

Moderate to Severe TBI Symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness for several minutes to a few hours
  • Persistent headache or a headache that worsens
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Inability to wake up from sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and/or toes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness, or other unusual aggressive behaviors
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma

Types of Brain Injury

There are many different types of injuries that can cause distress to the brain and can result in a TBI, some of which include:


Concussions are minor brain injuries that can be caused by shaking the brain via an impact to the head, or a sudden change in movement such as whiplash. Concussions can result in headaches, problems with concentration, memory loss, and disorientation. These injuries are especially dangerous in the event more than one is sustained over time.

Brain Contusions

A brain contusion refers to bruising of the brain tissue. Like any other bruise, the breaking and leaking of small blood vessels causes a brain contusion. These injuries are caused by an impact to the head and can range from mild to severe.

Penetrating Injuries

Penetrating injuries to the brain occur when an object pierces through the skull. This penetration can cause the object, hair, skin, or fragments of the skull to make contact with the brain. This contact – along with the force of the impact on the brain – can cause serious injury. Slips and falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries, and gunshot wounds can all result in a penetrating injury to the brain.

Diffuse Axonal Injuries

A diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is similar to a concussion in that it results from an impact causing movement of the brain, but it can be much more serious. When a DAI happens, the head moves so violently that the brainstem cannot keep up with the rate of movement, causing tears in the connections between the brain and the spinal cord. These tears can be incredibly small or microscopic, producing varying degrees of brain damage. More significant tears can cause extremely serious, lifelong brain injury symptoms and they can even be fatal.

Hypoxic Brain Injuries

A hypoxic brain injury occurs when the brain receives some but not enough oxygen and suffers damage as a result. This usually happens due to some form of inefficient suffocation, such as near drowning, near hanging, cardiac arrest, carbon monoxide poisoning, or exposure to other poisonous gasses.

Second Impact Syndrome

Similar to reinjuring an already bruised or broken limb, a second brain injury can result in catastrophic damage. The effect of second impact syndrome typically depends on the severity of the initial injury as well as the degree of trauma sustained. Most common with concussions, a second impact is more likely to cause severe brain damage even if the victim does not lose consciousness.

Houston Brain Injury Attorneys

When a traumatic brain injury occurs it can have life-altering effects. Often sustained during motor vehicle accidents, these injuries are typically costly and can leave victims unsure of what to do next. At Ramsey Law Group, we understand just how serious these injuries are and we will work with you to hold the responsible parties involved accountable.

If you or someone you know sustained a traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident or other incident, seek medical attention immediately. If you believe another person, company, or device caused your injury, contact our experienced Houston personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation.