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TBI Symptoms

When a TBI occurs, the injury can range from a mild case (a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to a severe case (an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury).

A TBI may impact the ability to concentrate, alter the senses (hearing, vision, smell, taste and touch), cause difficulty speaking, problems with balance and emotional and behavioral changes.

Physical Effects

  • Fractures
  • Fever
  • Difficulty eating and speaking
  • Degraded vision
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of hearing and sense of touch

Behavioral Effects

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Frustration
  • Impulsiveness
  • Repetitiveness
  • Depression
  • Regression (return to childlike behavior)
  • Disinhibition (inability to control impulsive behavior and emotions)

Cognitive Effects

  • Lack of attention and concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of judgment
  • Communication problems

Interconnected Effects

  • Lack of sleep can affect how quickly someone thinks.
  • Loss of vision, hearing and sense of touch can affect how someone focuses and learns.
  • Fatigue can make it difficult to move about efficiently and safely.
  • Memory loss can make it difficult to communicate with others.


TBIs may co-occur with other wounds

"Polytrauma" is the term used to describe injuries to multiple body parts and organs occurring as a result of blast-related wounds. TBI frequently occurs in polytrauma in combination with other disabling conditions, such as amputation, auditory and visual impairments, spinal cord injury (SCI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other medical conditions. Due to the severity and complexity of their injuries, people with polytrauma can require an extraordinary level of coordinated and integrated clinical and other support services.

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