Traumatic Brain Injury


A traumatic brain injury, often called TBI, can happen when you experience a bump, blow or jolt to the head.

The effects of head trauma can be minimal – lasting only a few days – or life-changing. TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S.

The most common causes of TBI include falls, violence (being struck by or against something), car accidents or sports injuries. Concussions are fairly common among athletes.

Symptoms of TBI

Symptoms of TBI range from mild to moderate to severe, depending on the level of damage to your brain. Some symptoms occur right after a head injury, but others may not appear for days or even weeks after trauma. 

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms to watch for and continue to monitor them several days after the injury. Talk to your Mercy doctor, even if you feel fine.

Symptoms of a mild TBI may include:

  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness
  • Blurred vision/tired eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Fatigue/lethargy
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Trouble with memory, concentration, attention or thinking

If you have a moderate to severe TBI, you may experience some of the same symptoms listed above. Other signs may include:

  • Headache that worsens or won’t go away
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Inability to wake up from sleep
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of your eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness/numbness in extremities
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased confusion, restlessness or agitation
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