Symptoms of a Brain Injury

Doctor putting bandage on head injury after an accident.

Suffering from an injury is something everyone will deal with many times in their lives. If you’re jogging in the park you might trip, fall and scrape your knee or when playing football with friends you might dislocate a finger. We all know that, in order to recover, you need to treat these injuries.

For people who’ve sustained head injuries, it’s not so easy. Injuries involving the brain can be complicated. You may have mild to severe symptoms which affect you immediately and fade away quickly or you may have symptoms that are delayed and linger on endlessly. Whether you’re a parent, coach, or trainer, identifying the signs and symptoms of a brain injury is critical to ensuring that a child, or a player, gets the urgent care they need after a concussion.

Mild Brain Injury Symptoms

There can be many causes of a mild brain injury that result in bothersome symptoms that are thankful, in most cases, short-lived. These symptoms are often the result of everyday events; a slip & fall on black ice in winter, falling off your bike in summer, or the result of horseplay with a group of friends.

Mild symptoms include:

  • Intermittent headaches that come and go
  • Mild dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Moderate ringing in the ears, like the feeling you get after attending a loud concert
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Trouble sleeping

Severe Brain Injury Symptoms
Serious head injuries, not surprisingly, arise from accidents or events that cause significant trauma to the head. These can be closed head injuries, such as those suffered in a rear-end collision at high speed, or an open head injury from a gunshot wound, or a vicious hit from a blunt object.

For those who’ve suffered from a horrible accident, generally experience more severe symptoms such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Difficulty keeping their balance, lack of coordination
  • Serious nausea and vomiting
  • Constant headaches that don’t go away
  • Amnesia and memory loss
  • Blurred vision and an inability to focus
  • Agitated moody behavior
  • Feeling confused and disoriented

Victims of serious car accidents have been known to report symptoms months or years later including; slurred speech, trouble breathing, numbness in their hands and an inability to recognize a feeling of hunger. Severe brain injuries require significant time to recover.

When do Brain Injury Symptoms Occur?

Most of the time symptoms present themselves immediately after the injury. In addition to the pain, you’ll likely suffer from a headache, feel dizzy and in some cases nauseous. You will probably have trouble sleeping in the nights following the event and may experience a general lack of concentration. If the injury isn’t serious, you’re lucky, these symptoms should be short lived.

In some cases, those suffering from a brain injury may appear to be fine immediately after the event only to experience delayed symptoms. No matter how you feel you should get checked out by a physician. If you suffered a brain injury and begin to have symptoms weeks later you may not relate those symptoms back to your accident. Your family and friends may be the first to notice that emotionally you’ve changed. They may find that your mood changes quickly now, that you’re irritable whereas before you were very even tempered and slow to get annoyed at anything.

It’s important to seek medical attention soon after the injury. Doctors can schedule you for an MRI or CT scan to try to pinpoint the injury and the severity. Doctors can also recommend some type of therapy to deal with the physical, behavioral and emotional symptoms that accompany a brain injury.

Symptoms of Brain Injuries in Sports

Coaches for amateur and professional teams have seen firsthand the difficulties in recognizing concussions. After a hard contact during play, one that involves a hit to the head or the head of a player hitting the floor, trainers will go through a series of evaluations. Sometimes trainers observe no signs of a concussion or head injury only to see the player develop symptoms of a brain injury later.

Coaches and trainers need to be educated on recognizing the signs and symptoms of a brain injury. Players who’ve been injured during play may exhibit:

  • Memory or concentration problems and an inability to recall specific plays. Coaches may see this at practice in the days following a head injury or in the next game.
  • Slow reaction times can be another sign. A player who never misses a pass may suddenly start to cause turnovers. Erratic play can be a sign of a player who has lingering effects from a brain injury.
  • Lack of energy and problems sleeping. A team member who normally plays with high energy may now seem lethargic on the field of play because of poor sleep patterns brought on by a concussion.

Coaches, trainers, family and friends should all take part in candidly assessing the player in the days and weeks after the injury. Treating a brain injury begins with recognizing the symptoms, whether they appear immediately or in the weeks and months that follow.

When to Worry that Your Child has Symptoms of a Head Injury

Symptoms of a brain injury in children are harder to discern simply because children aren’t able to communicate how they feel like adults can. Parents should be on the lookout for changes in behavior that often manifest themselves after a brain injury.

Parents may be the best at diagnosing a head injury, such as a concussion because they know how their kids behave, their sleep schedule, eating habits, temperament and how they get along with their friends. Parents can tell if something isn’t right. If a child or teenager, who plays on the school team, begins to have headaches, exhibits sudden changes in behavior and moodiness, becomes forgetful, has lapses in recalling a teammate’s or coach’s name, these can all be signs of a concussion or some other type of brain injury.

If parents are aware of the signs and symptoms of head injuries, they can then act on them. Doctors will tell you that parents are the best when it comes to knowing how their child feels and when symptoms are a cause of concern.

Don’t brush off and ignore the symptoms of a brain injury. See a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. If an accident was the cause, call the personal injury attorneys at Fleming Law. A lawyer can advise you for free and tell you if it’s worth pursuing a claim against an insurance company. Send us a message on our contact page or call us at 713-221-6800.

nicholas fleming

Nicholas P. Fleming focuses his practice in the area of civil litigation. As a skilled personal injury attorney, he handles a broad range of cases including motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, workplace accidents, and wrongful death. He is licensed to practice by the State Bar of Texas and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law, earning his J.D. in 2017. Nicholas prides himself on providing personalized service to his clients, who are often facing extremely stressful situations.