Your brain is essential for life. Without brain activity, your heart will not beat, and your lungs will not expand and contract. Experiencing the world around you through your senses is impossible without your brain. Without detectable brain activity, a person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be declared brain dead in 24 hours or less.

Because of the brain’s essentialness to life, medical professionals must be able to discuss brain injuries with others clearly and accurately. To that end, the medical community describes TBIs by both the nature of the injury and the severity of its effects. 

Understanding these traumatic brain injury categories can help you make sense of things if you or a loved one suffers head trauma. There are four main types of TBI and three levels of severity, as discussed below.

Prevalence of Brain Injuries in the United States

Millions of Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury every year and are seen at emergency rooms across the country. Hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and a small fraction die as a result of their brain trauma. Falls, car accidents, and acts of violence are some of the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries.

You might wonder, “What does TBI mean, and what is its significance?” Traumatic brain injuries are distinguishable from other types of brain damage in that some external factor or force causes them. They are not the result of an illness that needs to be treated or a genetic condition that led to brain damage.

Four Types of TBI: How the Injury Occurred

In describing the type of TBI a person has suffered, doctors and others are attempting to express the circumstances under which the brain injury occurred. You may have believed the statement, “There are only three types of TBI,” but this understanding is outdated. The four main types of TBI are as follows:

Blunt-Force Traumatic Brain Injury

This type of TBI occurs when the head either strikes an object or is hit by an object. The force of the impact is transferred from the object through the skull and impacts the brain locally, where the head strike occurs. Getting hit on the head by a falling tool at work or playing a contact sport like football can lead to a blunt-force traumatic brain injury.

Diffuse Axonal Traumatic Brain Injury 

Within the brain structure are long nerve fibers called axons. These fibers are essential to the brain’s ability to communicate with other parts of the brain and body and can become damaged through a shearing motion. Whiplash or other violent back-and-forth head movements can tear and sever them, impacting the ability of the brain to send signals throughout the body.

Piercing Traumatic Brain Injury

A sharp object or an object with enough force behind it can pierce through the skull and directly injure the brain. This is known as a piercing TBI, and these injuries can cause severe harm to a person’s brain. A gunshot wound is a common example of a piercing TBI, but any object that pierces or breaks the skull and exposes the brain to direct injury can cause a piercing injury.

Anoxic Traumatic Brain Injury

Finally, brain damage can occur if the brain is deprived of oxygen for just a few minutes. The brain injury resulting from this sort of accident is referred to as an anoxic traumatic brain injury. This sort of injury frequently happens in drowning accidents and accidents involving toxic fumes such as carbon monoxide.

Three Severity Levels of Traumatic Brain Injury

Describing the TBI levels of severity tells you and your medical team the seriousness of the symptoms you are facing.

The more severe the TBI level, the greater the impact the symptoms will have on your daily life and the more permanent those symptoms will tend to be. A TBI can become progressively more severe and move from one TBI level to another if it is left untreated.

The three types of TBI based on severity are mild, moderate, or severe:

Mild TBI Symptoms

A mild traumatic brain injury will have symptoms such as a brief loss of consciousness, vomiting, and temporary memory loss. None of these symptoms will be long-lasting and should resolve completely with treatment. While you are experiencing symptoms, their impact on your daily life will be minimal.

Moderate TBI Symptoms

Moderate TBIs are characterized by signs of brain trauma that can be seen on brain scans and neuroimaging devices. Any injury that results in a loss of consciousness for up to 24 hours should be evaluated and treated as a possible moderate TBI. Other symptoms, such as headaches, memory loss, and mood disturbances, may cause ongoing complications.

Severe TBI Symptoms

Severe TBI symptoms can be present if you are unconscious for over 24 hours. A severe TBI may be classified as a catastrophic injury

Other symptoms of less severe TBIs, like headaches and memory loss, may be present. You can also face permanent effects such as a loss of speech, mood disturbances, and behavioral changes. You may need ongoing medical care to help you manage the symptoms you experience from a severe TBI.

How Do Doctors Evaluate You For a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Medical professionals rely on more than just your report to characterize your traumatic brain injury. Devices like an MRI machine can give your medical team a picture of trauma that your brain has sustained. 

Your medical team will decide how to categorize your traumatic brain injury by combining details about how your accident happened and your observable and measurable symptoms.

What All Brain Injuries Have in Common

No matter how your brain trauma happens or how severe the symptoms may be, all brain injuries need to be promptly evaluated. Delays in treatment for even mild TBIs – such as concussions – can result in needless suffering and the worsening of symptoms over time. 

As a result, any time you have hit your head and experience symptoms of a brain injury, seek medical attention right away. Be honest with your medical team and listen carefully to how they describe your TBI and how to treat it. Doing so puts you in the best position to make as full of a recovery as possible.

Contact Our Orlando Brain Injury Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Orlando, Florida, and need legal help, contact our experienced Brain Injury lawyers at Payer Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Orange County and its surrounding areas:

Payer Law Personal Injury Lawyers
6735 Conroy Rd STE 332,
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: (407) 648-1510