Marble statue of head with brain visible, eyes closed.

What is a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion?

There are 3 main types of traumatic brain injury

  1. Mild TBI or concussion
  2. Moderate TBI
  3. Severe TBI

Causes of Brain Injury

A concussion or mild traumatic brain injury is usually an injury that is caused by direct force or impact to the head, face or another body part that makes the brain move inside the skull.

Closed brain injury:

The majority of brain injuries are closed, meaning the skull is not fractured, and an object does not penetrate the skull. Instead, the brain has accelerated and decelerated quickly in the skull. Examples of closed head injuries may include: Blow to the head, Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA), A fall, or Being hit by an object or person.

Open/penetrating head injury:

When an object exits from a location from where it entered, this is considered a penetrating head injury. Examples of open-head injuries can include a gunshot wound to the head, workplace accidents, sports injuries, or MVAs. MVA's can also result in open head injuries.

When should I see a doctor?

It is important to see a medical doctor if you suspect you have sustained a head injury. You should speak with your doctor before returning to any high impact activities.

How is a brain injury diagnosed:

A brain injury is usually diagnosed by a doctor or nurse practitioner. Usually they will ask you questions about the events that occurred, physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, questions about your memory, attention, sleep and mood.

You may be further referred for medical imaging such as a CT scan or MRI if the doctor

When should I go back to the doctor:

You should immediately see your family doctor or an emergency department doctor if you notice worsening symptoms such as slurred speech, difficulty with walking, worsening headache, worsening confusion or vomiting

References

https://braininjuryguidelines.org/concussion/fileadmin/Patient_Version_-_Updates_PDFs2019/1.Diagnosis_and_assesment_New__.pdf

https://macn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Post-concussion-information-sheet_MACN.pdf

https://braininjuryguidelines.org/concussion/fileadmin/media/appendices/appendix-1-1.pdf

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