Brain Injury FAQs

What are considered brain injuries?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a sudden trauma to the head resulting in damage to the brain and is sometimes referred to as a head injury. This injury may result from slip and fall incidents, automobile accidents, or sports accidents. Injury to the brain may also occur any time oxygen to the brain is cut off, such as in a stroke, or because of infection. The patient may or may not have experienced a loss of consciousness at the time of the trauma. TBIs are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.

What are the symptoms of brain injury?

A person who has sustained a brain injury may experience relatively mild symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, and headache. The extreme is a serious manifestation of the injury such as seizures, slurred speech, confusion, loss of coordination and coma.

What is the difference between a concussion and a contusion?

A concussion results from a blow to the head which causes the brain to strike the skull. A concussion does not cause any structural damage to the brain, but can cause temporary loss of functioning. Headaches, memory loss, and sleep disturbance may be some of the problems suffered after such an injury. A contusion on the other hand, is a more serious blow to the brain, which results in bruising of the brain and more noticeable loss of functions. More comprehensive care is required for a contusion. Follow-up treatment and evaluation are required on a regular basis.

What is a skull fracture?

A skull fracture results in damage to the skin and bone of the skull as well as to the brain itself. The form of medical treatment varies with the location and severity of the fracture. Close observation and follow-up treatment are always required. Many skull fractures result in mild to severe problems associated with daily functioning such as walking, memory, vision, and behavior.

What is a coma?

Severe brain damage may result to coma. A comatose patient is in a prolonged state of unconsciousness that can last hours, days, or weeks depending on the severity of the brain damage. There is no response to external stimuli and absence of speech. The patient seems to be sleeping or in a vegetative state.

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is the process which helps an individual reach optimum function by providing a variety of services. Rehabilitation involves team effort which includes services of the physicians as well as physical, occupational and speech therapists, neuropsychologists, social workers, therapeutic recreational specialists, and nurses. In addition, other professionals in education and vocational training help provide treatment services. However, the most important members of the treatment team are the patient and the patient’s family. The effectiveness or success of any rehabilitation program depends on the cooperation of the patient and family members. You can check out a wonderful resource, University of Utah’s rehabilitation program here.

Is there a financial assistance for people with brain injury and their families?

It depends on the patient’s work history and economic situation. Financial assistance can come from a range of federal government programs, such as SSI and SSDI (Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Income), state and local government programs, non-profit organizations and foundations, community groups, religious organizations and even local fundraising events. For more information, see here. You can also read our article on brain injury resources here to learn what other assistance brain injury patients and their families can turn to.

Will a person with a brain injury recover?

Medication, surgery, and rehabilitation can decrease the damage resulting from the brain injury. Research and resulting technology are aimed at helping brain injury problems in order to restore functions and make life more comfortable for the patients. Recovery also depends on the patients’ age, health condition, and commitment to recover from the injuries. Support from family and friends also contribute to patients’ recovery. If you or a loved one have experienced a brain injury due to another party’s negligence, please do not hesitate to contact us at Christensen & Hymas. We offer comfortable and confidential consultations. To learn more, read our “Brain Injuries” article.

Photo “prd brain scan” copyright by Patrick Denker.

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