In addition to the severity of a brain injury, the type of injury can make a difference in a student’s recovery. For instance, focal and penetrating injuries tend to injure specific portions of the brain. A student with this type of injury may have less overall damage as a result, depending on where the injury occurs and the cognitive processes involved in the damaged area of the brain. In contrast, a student whose head hits the pavement after a fall may injure both the area of the brain at the point of impact and the opposite side of the brain as well. This is called a coup-contra-coup injury. This type of injury may become diffuse because of the shearing and tearing that can occur as the brain moves back and forth within the skull. Other possible types of damage include contusions or bruises that result in swelling. Rotation injuries also result in shearing and tearing of brain tissue. When a baby is shaken, the brain often has several types of injuries including coup contra coup, rotation injuries and swelling. In this, as well as similar injuries to older children, the blood vessels tear causing internal hemorrhaging in addition to the direct damage to the brain tissue.
A depressed skull fracture in which the broken bone exerts pressure on the brain.
The common result of a blow to the head or sudden deceleration usually causing an altered mental state, either temporary or prolonged. Physiologic or anatomic disruption of connections between some nerve cells in the brain may occur. Often used by the public to refer to a brief loss of consciousness.
Bruising or damage to brain tissue on the side opposite where the blow was struck.
Diffuse Brain Injury
Injury to cells in many areas of the brain rather than in one specific location.
Rupture of a blood vessel leading to the collection of blood in brain tissues or empty spaces. There are several types of hematoma:
A focal Injury is confined to a specific area of the brain.
A penetrating injury occurs when an object, such as a bullet or hay hook, breaks through the skull, enters the brain and rips the soft brain tissue in its path.
Skull fracture occurs by breaking of the bones surrounding the brain. A depressed skull fracture is one in which the broken bone exerts pressure on the brain.
emedicine,Classifications and complications of traumatic brain injury. Palenhan, P.H, MD, Kelly ,Brian M., DO, Hornyak J. MD, Ph.D., Smith D.E., MD., e-Medicine, Web MD last updated April 2, 2008.
From The Teaching Research Institute-Eugene. Reprinted with permission.