What Is TBI?

TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury, occurs when a sudden trauma, such as an automobile accident, a fall or a stroke, causes damage to the brain. TBI is classified into two categories: mild and severe.

Mild Brain Injury

A brain injury is classified as mild if loss of consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is shorter than 30 minutes. The individual may experience a headache, difficulty thinking, memory problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These injuries are commonly overlooked. Even though this type of TBI is called “mild,” the effect on the family and the injured person can be devastating.

Severe Brain Injury

Severe brain injury is associated with loss of consciousness for more than 30 minutes and memory loss after the injury or penetrating skull injury. The deficits range from impairment of higher-level cognitive functions to comatose states. 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 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. Since our brain defines who we are, a brain injury can affect all aspects of our lives, including our personality. Therefore, a change in brain function can have a dramatic impact on family, job, social and community interaction.

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