Traumatic Brain Injury: Brain Injuries

Because the brain is such a complex organ, injuries to the brain differ between people. Each injury to the brain is unique, no matter how similar the circumstances surrounding the injury.

  • Acquired Brain Injury

    An acquired brain injury (ABI) occurs after birth and is caused by cerebral vascular accidents (also known as strokes), lack of oxygen to the brain (known as hypoxia), which can happen in cases of near drowning, choking, smoke inhalation, etc., and includes all traumatic brain injuries.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury

    A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from mild (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to severe (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury).

    The majority of TBIs are concussions or other forms of mild TBI. Concussions occur from a bump or blow to the body, or from an action that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth as can happen with a whiplash or shaking. Military personnel are at risk of blast-induced TBI. Symptoms of a TBI may not appear until days or weeks following the injury. Serious traumatic brain injuries need emergency treatment.