Brain Injury

"Brain injury is not an event or an outcome. It is the start of a misdiagnosed, misunderstood, under-funded neurological disease."  Brain Injury Association of America

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Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force (BIAA, 2021).

Frequent causes of TBI:

  • Falls

  • Assaults

  • Workplace Injuries

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

  • Gunshot Wounds

  • Child Abuse

  • Domestic Violence

  • Sports/ Recreation

Non-Traumatic (Acquired) Brain Injury

A non-traumatic brain injury causes damage to the brain by internal factors, such as a lack of oxygen, exposure to toxins, pressure from a tumor, etc. (BIAA, 2021)

Frequent causes of non-traumatic brain injuries:​

  • Lack of Oxygen (Drowning, Choking, Hypoxic/Anoxic Injury)

  • Stroke

  • Meningitis

  • Encephalitis

  • Infectious Disease

  • Tumors

  • Seizure

  • Metabolic Disorders

  • Drug Overdose

  • Electric Shock

  • Neurotoxic Poisoning (Carbon Monoxide, Lead Exposure)

Subtypes of Brain Injuries

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A diffuse axonal injury can be caused by shaking or strong rotation of the head, as with shaken baby syndrome, or by rotational forces, such as with a car accident (BIAA).

Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI)

A concussion can be caused by direct blows to the head, gunshot wounds, violent shaking of the head, or force from a whiplash-type injury. Both closed and open head injuries can produce a concussion. A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury (BIAA).

Contusion

A contusion is a bruise (bleeding) on the brain caused by a force (blow or jolt) to the head (BIAA).

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

Coup-contrecoup injury describes contusions that are both at the site of the impact and on the complete opposite side of the brain. This occurs when the force impacting the head is not only great enough to cause a contusion at the site of impact, but is also able to move the brain and cause it to slam into the opposite side of the skull (BIAA).

Second Impact Syndrome

Second impact syndrome, also termed “recurrent traumatic brain injury,” can occur when a person sustains a second traumatic brain injury before the symptoms of the first traumatic brain injury have healed. The second injury may occur from days to weeks following the first. Loss of consciousness is not required. The second impact is more likely to cause brain swelling and widespread damage (BIAA).

Penetrating Injury

Penetrating injury to the brain occurs from the impact of a bullet, knife, or other sharp object that forces hair, skin, bone, and fragments from the object into the brain (BIAA).

Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome)

Abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome, is a violent criminal act that causes traumatic brain injury. Abusive head trauma occurs when the perpetrator aggressively shakes a baby or young child. The forceful whiplash-like motion causes the brain to be injured (BIAA).

Locked-in Syndrome

Locked-in syndrome is a rare neurological condition in which a person cannot physically move any part of their body aside from their eyes (BIAA).