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What is traumatic brain injury and what causes it?

Sports injuries, car accidents, falls, bicycle and skateboarding injuries and major bumps to the head are all injuries that can lead to traumatic brain injury. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, traumatic brain injury is caused by a sudden trauma that causes damage to brain matter. A sudden and violent hit to the skull can cause the damage, but so can an injury that pierces the skull and allows an object to injure the brain's soft tissue.

Individuals don't have to lose consciousness to have a traumatic brain injury, although loss of consciousness is one common symptom of a TBI. Other symptoms can include confusion, headaches, changes in mood or behavior, dizziness, blurred vision, memory trouble, loss of concentration, problems thinking or lethargy or fatigue.

All or some of the above symptoms may be present in someone who has even a mild case of TBI. More moderate or severe cases may present with symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, long-term headaches, seizures or convulsions, dilation of eyes, numbness in extremities or slurred speech.

Brain injury of any type should be diagnosed by a physician, as all of the symptoms associated with such injuries could be evidence of another type of problem. There are treatments for traumatic brain injuries, although it is often impossible to regain full brain function after cells or soft brain tissues are damaged.

When traumatic brain injury occurs in an accident or incident that someone was negligent or liable in, then a personal injury claim may allow the injured individual or family to seek financial compensation for losses. Losses in brain injury cases often include pain and suffering, loss of wages or support and medical expenses.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "What is Traumatic Brain Injury?" Sep. 19, 2014

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