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Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

Author / Coordinator: Brain Injury Association of America
Brain Injury Association of America
March 2007

A person with a suspected brain injury should contact a physician immediately, go to the emergency room, or call 911 in the case of an emergency.

After an impact to the head, a person with a brain injury can experience a variety of symptoms but not necessarily all of the following symptoms. This information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or examination. A person with a suspected brain injury should contact a physician immediately, go to the emergency room, or call 911 in the case of an emergency. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include can include, but are not limited to:

Spinal fluid (thin water-looking liquid) coming out of the ears or nose

Loss of consciousness; however, loss of consciousness may not occur in some concussion cases

Dilated (the black center of the eye is large and does not get smaller in light) or unequal size of pupils

Vision changes (blurred vision or seeing double, not able to tolerate bright light, loss of eye movement, blindness)

Dizziness, balance problems

Respiratory failure (not breathing)

Coma (not alert and unable to respond to others) or semi comatose state

Paralysis, difficulty moving body parts, weakness, poor coordination

Slow pulse

Slow breathing rate, with an increase in blood pressure

Vomiting

Lethargy (sluggish, sleepy, gets tired easily)

Headache

Confusion

Ringing in the ears, or changes in ability to hear

Difficulty with thinking skills (difficulty �gthinking straight�h, memory problems, poor judgment, poor attention span, a slowed thought processing speed)

Inappropriate emotional responses (irritability, easily frustrated, inappropriate crying or laughing)

Difficulty speaking, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing

Body numbness or tingling

Loss of bowel control or bladder control

A person with a suspected brain injury should contact a physician immediately, go to the emergency room, or call 911 in the case of an emergency.

Symptoms of Acquired Brain Injury

Most symptoms of acquired brain injuries are very similar to that of traumatic brain injuries; however, there are some difficulties that are experienced more frequently or to a greater degree by persons with acquired brain injuries. This information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or examination. A person with a suspected brain injury should contact a physician immediately, go to the emergency room, or call 911 in the case of an emergency. Symptoms can include:

Cognitive impairment- Thinking skills, especially memory

Longer lengths of time spent in a vegetative state

Severe behavior problems- Psychosis, depression, restlessness, combativeness, hostility

Muscle movement disorders

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