While not all head injuries affect the brain, the severity of injury when a TBI does occur can range from mild to severe. Most are mild and commonly referred to as concussions, but moderate or severe injuries can lead to permanent brain damage, disabilities, and behavioral changes.
A traumatic brain injury is a type of acquired brain damage. It occurs when harm, such as a bludgeoning or concussive explosion, happens to the brain. A TBI will most likely occur when something violently hits the head or an object penetrates the brain tissue itself.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that since 2001, there has been a slow but steady rise in the number of people who experience traumatic brain injury in the United States, with over 2.5 million people affected each year. For men, the spike was as much as 40%, while women saw a 20% increase overall.
A significant portion of the population, around 4%, dies each year from preventable TBIs, such as those caused by automobile accidents, blunt force trauma, and dangerous lifestyle habits. Because a TBI can ultimately lead to decreased mental capacity, monitoring healthy brain activity after such an event is crucial.
Recognizing a traumatic brain injury is not always easy, as symptoms may not appear until days or weeks after the injury and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of a mild TBI include: