What are the symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries are characterized as mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) may include headache, fatigue, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, confusion, poor memory, blurred vision, and balance problems. Although you never fool around with any brain injury, around 90 percent of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are considered to be mild.
Pam Hays
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
In a recent conversation with Susan Connors, President of The Brain Injury Association of America,  we talked about the BIA working towards removing the term "mild" as it pertains to brain injury.  The word ""mild infers that the the challenges in a person's life will be mild.  Research is proving that outcome is many times not true. 

There is such a gap in knowledge about traumatic brain injury (TBI) in general, and using terms such as "mild" is misleading and is not productive with creating accurate awareness about truth of traumatic brain injuries. 

Let's use the term "mild" for salsa, not brain injuries!
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Anything from a headache to difficulties, changes, or a inability to walk, talk, or communicate. If you have any concerns please check with your medical provider as soon as possible.

William E. Brown III., MD
Internal Medicine

The days to weeks following a mild traumatic brain injury, commonly referred to as a concussion, can be a scary time.  By educating the patient on what to expect during the period immediately after the injury, a healthcare provider can reassure the patient that these symptoms are expected and are generally temporary in nature.

After a mild traumatic brain injury patients can often experience: fatigue, headaches, visual changes, memory loss, poor attention/concentration, trouble sleeping, dizziness, irritability-increased emotionality, depression and sometimes even seizures.  Less commonly patients can also experience: nausea, loss of smell, sensitivity to light and sound, mood changes, getting easily lost/confused and mental slowing.

A  recent patient whom I treated with mild TBI expressed her gratitude for me educating her on what to expect and said that those 15 minutes of explanation went a long ways toward helping her to cope with an already difficult situation.

Mild traumatic brain injury (mild TBI), also known as a concussion, results from head trauma which temporarily disrupts the normal functions of the brain.  It can result in confusion or loss of consciousness which typically lasts less than 30 minutes.  Other symptoms of mild TBI immediately after the injury include headache, dizziness, unsteadiness, visual trouble, nausea, lack of awareness of surroundings and/or amnesia about the events leading up to and after the head trauma.  Several days to weeks after the head trauma, some people may complain of persistent headache, irritability or depression, poor attention or concentration, sleep difficulty, loss of smell and sensitivity to light and sounds. 
Mild TBI commonly occurs as a result of sporting injuries and other causes of head trauma (falls, motor vehicle accidents, etc).  Mild TBI is further divided into grades of severity depending on the duration of symptoms, confusion and/or loss of consciousness (grade 1: symptoms lasting less than 15 minutes without loss of consciousness, Grade 2: symtoms lasting longer than 15 minutes without loss of consciousness, Grade 3: loss of consciousness)  In atheletes, when they may return to play is determined based on the grade.   

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.