Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
TBI is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force.
TBI may cause problems with:
- Cognition—concentration, memory, judgment, and mood
- Movement abilities—strength, coordination, and balance
- Sensation—tactile sensation and special senses such as vision
- Emotion—instability and impulsivity
Signs & Symptoms of TBI
A person with a mild TBI may experience:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Tiredness or sleepiness
- A bad taste in the mouth
- A change in sleep habits
- Behavior or mood changes
- Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking
- Loss of consciousness lasting a few seconds to minutes
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Nausea or vomiting
A person with moderate or severe TBI may have some of the symptoms listed above. In addition, the person may experience any of the following:
- Headache that gets worse or won't go away
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Convulsions or seizures
- An inability to wake up from sleep
- Enlargement of the pupil (dark center) of one or both eyes
- Numbness or tingling of arms or legs
- Loss of coordination
- Increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation
- Loss of consciousness lasting a few minutes to hours
A person who suffers a blow to the head or another trauma that may have caused a TBI should seek medical attention.
- Wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
- Buckling your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child's height, weight, and age).
- Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Wearing a helmet and making sure your children wear helmets when:
- Riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or all-terrain vehicle;
- Playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing;
- Using in-line skates or riding a skateboard;
- Batting and running bases in baseball or softball;
- Riding a horse; or
- Skiing or snowboarding.
- Making living areas safer for seniors, by:
- Removing tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways;
- Using nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors;
- Installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower;
- Installing handrails on both sides of stairways;
- Improving lighting throughout the home; and
- Maintaining a regular physical activity program, if your doctor agrees, to improve lower body strength and balance.
- Making living areas safer for children, by:
- Installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows; and
- Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.
- Making sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.
If you are suffering with TBI or know a person with TBI, there are resources and support groups available by clicking on links provided below: