A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.
Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of such an injury may range from “mild”—a brief change in mental status or consciousness—to “severe,” an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The terms “concussion” and “mild TBI” (mTBI) are interchangeable.
A TBI classified as moderate or severe can result in short-term or long-term problems with independent function. Most TBIs are mild, and those who sustain them usually recover completely within 1 to 3 months.
WHAT CAUSES TBI?
In the military, the leading causes of TBI are:
- Bullets, fragments, blasts
- Motor vehicle-traffic crashes
Blasts are a leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in war zones.
WHO IS AT HIGHEST RISK FOR TBI?
- Males are about 1.5 times as likely as females to sustain a TBI.
- Military duties increase the risk of sustaining a TBI.
SYMPTOMS OF MILD TBI (mTBI)/CONCUSSION:
- Excessive fatigue (tiredness)
- Concentration problems
- Forgetting things (memory problems)
- Balance problems
- Vision change
- Sleep disturbance
Symptoms of mild TBI or concussion often resolve within hours to days and almost always improve over 1 to 3 months. However, if symptoms persist without improvement, medical treatment should be sought.
For more information, visit Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.