Any blow to the head can result in a traumatic brain injury. Whether from a fall, auto accident or sports injury, a TBI can have serious and wide-ranging physical and mental consequences.

Seeking immediate medical care when a TBI occurs may improve the person’s health outcomes. While some symptoms show up right away, others take days or weeks to appear.

Mild TBI symptoms

A mild TBI results in temporary brain cell damage. The person may experience symptoms that include these issues:

  • Mental haze, confusion or disorientation
  • Brief lapse of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbance or too much sleep
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Speech difficulties
  • Ringing ears, blurry vision or other sensory issues
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering

Signs of moderate to severe TBI

In addition to the same symptoms present with mild TBI, more serious TBI may result in the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Hours to days of unconsciousness or coma
  • Worsening headache, nausea or vomiting
  • Aggressive or otherwise unusual behavior
  • Deep confusion
  • Seizures
  • Lack of physical coordination
  • Dilated pupils
  • Numb or weak extremities

Childhood TBI symptoms

Signs indicating TBI may vary in young children. If a child has a head injury, the parent should seek immediate medical attention. The child may show lack of interest in favorite things, change in nursing habits, loss of appetite, drowsiness, sadness, seizures, inconsolable crying and/or inability to focus.

Reducing risk of TBI

Males have increased risk of TBI, as do children younger than 4, older teens and young adults and individuals older than 60. Individuals can lower this risk with preventive steps such as wearing appropriate head protection when biking, playing sports, horseback riding or riding a motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle. Everyone should wear a seat belt and never drive while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Parents with young children should install safety gates and supervise them closely at play.