Severity of Brain Injury

Center on Brain Injury Research and Training
Severity of Brain Injury

Although every brain injury is unique, brain injuries are diagnosed in the following categories:

Mild traumatic brain injury

Also called post-concussive syndrome, is an injury that may not result in a loss of consciousness. About 90 percent of the symptoms resolve in a few weeks. However, 10 percent of these injuries have symptoms that are long lasting. This is the area of brain injury that is most easily overlooked in children because children are less likely than adults to lose consciousness. Repeated concussions increase the likelihood of prolonged consequences. Although this level is referred to as a “mild” injury, it should be noted that the consequences are not mild and can be quite debilitating for a student.

Moderate traumatic brain injury

This level of injury may have some effect on the child’s alertness and ability to follow commands and may include skull fracture, contusions (bruising of the brain), hemorrhage, or focal damage related to the direction of type of impact, In children, a moderate brain injury may result in physical weakness, cognitive or communication impairments, difficulty learning new information, or psycho-social challenges.

Severe traumatic brain injury

Is marked by coma of variable duration. Although the consequences of some of these injuries may be subtle, many will results in long-lasting changes in multiple cognitive, communicative, physical, social-emotional, and behavioral problems. Some difficulties may become more obvious when greater levels of planning and abstract thing are required for successful functioning in school and at home.

Posted on BrainLine June 18, 2010.

From the Center on Brain Injury Research and Training. Reprinted with permission.