A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a type of brain injury caused by physical trauma. A TBI can be the result of the head forcefully hitting an object (called a closed head injury) or an object passing through the skull and piercing the brain (called a penetrating head injury).
TBIs not Always Caused by Blows to the Head
Contrary to popular belief, the head does not even need to be struck in order for a person to suffer a TBI, nor does the person need to lose consciousness. Examples of this are the damage a baby’s brain may suffer from being shaken or someone getting whiplash (the brain suffers damage by impacting the sides of the skull).
A TBI may also occur after a head trauma due to swelling and bleeding in and around the brain. The results of a TBI can range from treatable, short-term injuries to severe injuries that result in permanent disabilities. The most severe TBIs can also cause seizure disorders (like epilepsy), paralysis, coma, and even death.
Sometimes Symptoms are not Obvious
One of the most dangerous aspects of TBIs is that the sufferer may show no obvious signs of external damage. “Early on, problems may be missed by patients, family members, and doctors,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. “People may look fine even though they’re acting or feeling differently.” Whiplash and ‘shaken’ babies are examples of TBIs that lack physical evidence.