Dr. James Kelly Talks About Areas of the Brain Affected by Concussion

BrainLine sat down with Dr. Kelly to talk about how different areas of the brain can be affected by concussion, or mild TBI.

Watch more video clips from Dr. Kelly.

Posted on BrainLine November 13, 2008. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

Comments (40)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

Hi I was slapped in the back of the head by another person twice just because she wanted to in November this year (2021) and I ended up with a concussion and my memory isn't the same anymore. I do have memory problems as I had a stroke about 8 years ago and the blood clot traveled up to my brain but this is different and even my Husband and kids have noticed it too. Could I have a brain injury from this?

After having my the back of my head hit a wooden floor extremely hard a year ago, I feel I have memory issues. After it happened, immediately I was sick, dizzy, unstable etc. For about a month after, I had issues turning my head at all. For one it hurt and two i got dizzy and sick. I didn't see a doctor due the way it happened. Now over a year later, I find I don't remember things like i used to, mind feels foggy a lot (not all the time), that spot bothers me sometimes (not like palpating it) just in general and somethings short term I remember and others I don't. I'm leary of going to a doctor now. I'm guessing I had a severe head injury and still have effects from it. Will it get better or worse? I am writing things down, making reminders etc.

I got hit from a large rock thrown up in the air and unbeknownst to me; it hit me directly outer left parietal and occiotal area skull. Enough to drop me to the ground. Never saw a doctor. Fast forward 10 years and now in a car accident..back seat concussion neck whiplash from head forcibly going forward and then hit my side rear car and neck whiplash to the left.

I had brain cancer on the right side of my head above my right ear close to my eyebrows where we took out a tumor that was lemon size what effects does that have on me.

I got hit on the back of my neck and lower head this morning with one hard blow. I have extensive head injury history. I don't know if it knocked me out, prob not but I couldn't speak for maybe 30 sec my mouth was open but couldn't even cry. Then of course followed with panic, confusion, fear of what could happen. My left fingers were numb and tingly. Should I go to Dr or just observe and go if becomes more serious

Yes, please get checked out. Even small hits to the head can cause slight damage to the brain. More sever hits, especially ones that cause temporary blackouts, loss of consciousness and/or odd sensations in other parts of the body, have definitely hurt the brain. Many can heal properly over time but some cause weakening of blood vessels in the brain near the impact. This can lead to aneurysm, even years down the road. Bret Michaels, singer for an 80’s hair band, was hit in the head at a show by some rigging. He ended having a brain aneurysm years later and almost died. My dad had the same thing happen to him (at least that was the theory) he worked very physical all his life and hit his head plenty throughout his 64’years of life. At that age he had an aneurysm on the front left of his brain where he knows he had been hit before. They had to remove part of his skull there to repair it. Just like that singer, he was thankfully taken to the hospital right when he started slurring words and not making sense. The doctors said if they had waiting longer he would have died. They also said he was lucky to have it in a place that affected his cognitive mind and it was very apparent that something was severely wrong. If aneurysms happen in less crucial areas of the brain, any slight effects (or no detectable effect) of the blood vessel popping can go undiagnosed for too long of time. This can lead to death, of course, but if not immediate death then to odd symptoms that can adversely effect normal function. Just slight enough to ignore as permanent damage is done.

I have been hit in the head or hit my head more times than I can remember so there is my quick background. I do not and have not gone to Dr. In years the last time I did was 2016 because I was hit on the left side of my head/face with glass bottle full of liquor. The blow it's self was completely lost in memory. I suppose it knocked me out for a few seconds but never fell only came to while stepping back to get into car. Dr said there was scar tissue there and to be mindful of that particular temple so as not to reinjure it could be deadly if hit again. Since then my memory loss has gotten worse, my reaction time to recover information that I ve already learned has slowed significantly. Is there anything I can do to help restore damaged brain cells?

My face went splat to the road so my head didn't twist as the doc described so his talk negates my injury

I just hit the back of my head last night. Wow, I got the very sense of hearing, seeing, and remembering knocked out of me for a few seconds. I also almost passed out, but I tried to hold it --- as painful as that was. This morning, my left sternocleidomastoid muscle and both my ear canals kinda hurt, and I wonder if it's from last night's concussion.

I'm a 34 y/o female with treatment-resistant depression and OCD. I got a medically-diagnosed concussion last week in which I hit my face below my right eye on a hardwood nightstand.

For some reason, my mood and energy/anxiety levels have actually improved since the accident. This goes against everything I've read and learned about concussion. My psych doc is amazed but even my family has commented on the improvement in my mood. I'm hoping it sticks around, even though my memory and balance are much worse now. Even more amazing is this is the time of year my depression and fatigue are always at their worst but now I feel NONE of that.

Curious what specific brain area I might've damaged in the impact? The frontal/temporal lobes include lots of sub-areas like the orbitofrontal cortex, which has been implicated in OCD and looks like it's right around the area I bonked. This is so fascinating to me and I wish someone could at least speculate with me (though I know it would be just that--speculation). I've tried 23 psych meds in my life to no avail so this is kind of a big deal. Really hoping it's not temporary, as bad as that sounds.


Speaking as a patient of multiple brain injuries due to multiple acts of violence causing severe executive disfunction and severe time dysperception. But I am not a doctor. -- Just a thought here, but you may have traded one trauma for another. Seriously. I don't know what got you to the point that you were before your concussion (23 psyche meds is quite a bit) but it wouldn't be a stretch to assume some form of trauma underlying that need. My months long trauma from the violence (dissociation, shaking, high anxiety, etc.) was short circuited by brain surgery (which is in and of itself a traumatic brain injury). I literally traded the priorities of the first for the priorities of the second, which was a huge upgrade. And once past the trauma of brain surgery, I didn't slip back to the former. Also, in case you don't know, a concussion is a brain injury. There is no longer a distinction between the two. Best of luck.

Madam my brother fell down from swing back of head he got hurt and he always says its paining and it headache is coming back of head he says 9 yrs old mam

Hi Charvick, I’m interested in your brother’s accident as I’m trying to find more information about damage resulting from a blow to the back of the head, specifically causing headaches. I’ve read your comment several times but can make no sense of it. Would you explain more clearly please.

i've been hit in the head from a person kicking a ball too high to the side of my head. i blacked out and it felt like i possessed my brain. my brain floated side to side like ping pong. i heard ringing noises. i open my eyes in blurry vision to barely hear the female in front of me that was probably talking to me ask was i okay. i don't remember what happened after PE that day. can you please tell me, what scientifical parts of my brain are damaged?

I am 16 and playing video games at a semi professional level. About a month ago I hit my head and I didn’t think much of it. After that incident I haven’t been able to focus and my eyes don’t work the same as they used to. I would also add that I am now a more irritable person than I used to be. I’ve been suffering from depression and I have benched myself from my roster because I can’t cognitively function like I used to. I just wish I was normal again.

Try to look into vision therapy.

Syntonic light therapy can be prescribed by an eye doctor who specializes in concussion.

Have you done the syntonic light therapy? Looking into and want to find out what the success rate is for it

I slipped and hit the back of my head in my bathtub very recently....I have been experiencing severe headache at the front of my head...opposite the back of my head I hit.....thats the only symptoms I have now....I've not been to the hospital...I've just been taking pain killers...but I don't know what to do....and I'm scared..

Please don’t take painkillers they are very dangerous they are silent killers You would not know but they silently kill us and you are saying that you are taking it continuously

One pill is good but you should know that you have brain injury and painkillers releases a chemical which directly goes to brain because it prevents our pain anywhere on the body and then only our brain receives a signal of relieving.......
So you should understand painkillers are very dangerous... you can ask your doctor about painkillers , they also have same opinion .....

But first please consult your doctor about your brain ...........

I also hit my head in the same place & also getting pain thete & front of head opposite side, have you been to doctors? I’ve not been but I am worried

Hello Dr. Kelly, I have been trying to get a very simple answer from the neurologists that I have been working with , but I cant seem to get one... After just watching your video I know now others have had a similiar effect. Okay this past April I came home from work around 4pm on Friday, Next thing I wake up at my daughters house on Sunday evening with no recollection of what happened. I have never experienced any type of black out or loss of memory. if anything its the opposite. I asked my daughter what happened she told me that I got to her house saturday afternoon with the dog. I told her friday when i got home i went down in the bathrrom hitting the front of my forehead on athe cement sink. I was in a total state of confusion Dr. I couldnt process what had happened to me. My daughter kept saying go to the hosptal and usually I am the first one to know when to go I wouldnt...5 days later I finally go not grasping what happened i felt confused! the ER did A CT and MRI .. images showed Severe concussion and Subdural hematoma. I was dischaarged which I couldnt beleive that. They gave me a neurologist to see... Now say one month after the fall, I was suffering with really bad migtaines. I also broke 2 teeth so my mouth was in pain along with neck pain . I think I tightned up falling.. I also was having short term memory loss.. Long term was fine. It was frusterating at times I couldnt get words out that I knew I wanted to say.. Little by Little things got clearer, memory starting to return, but I or as you put in the video my personality changed and still is.. At this moment I am 7 months after. I am recalling allot of events from my life scences very traumatic ones. Losses and its like I am watching a little clip on TV. I watchimg this younger version of me suffer in such emotional pain and I wang to help her.. But I cant.. i feel like being able to do that I healed allot.. This opened up a whole new part of the brain and that "socitys point of view" shut down! Couldnt be happier. I picked up my Baton after 30 years and play around with all the time now. I went to dancing school from 6-18. I loved it. I also work out daily or try to daily like I did back then,. I am finally learning to speak up for myself.. My mother used to say I was a people pleaser. Thats all gone. I am very blunt now and I do not let anyone put my new hobbies down..What once I cried and foumd to be so sad and tragic I know laugh about. Now I never liked science I am more spirituality. However with this part of my brain that is active I am now on youtube watching videos by Rubert Sheldrake.,, readinbg parrellel universes, etc..My vocabulary has highly increased with all these terms and big words I am now using. I want to mention that I explained to my my daughters that I am reborn! I always have had a very strong faith in God. I have many tramatic experiences that showed if it wasnt for God I wouldnt have made it and my idetical twin daughters would have not made it. The doctors told me there was no way they would . They will be 21 this month. ANd each day I feel more and more different. I no longer go by socitys view. I dont care if peoplpe beleive me or not . You most certaintly can tell Im different. I am now into meditaion., crystal healing. Sun charging and more natural; ways to deal with medical issues. The doctors dont like that... I am trying to get an appointment with one of the best ever neurosurgeons in Boston... I wanted him to do a brain scan to see what the hematoma looks like now. Also we have a spiritual issue with the whole brain here.. 22 years ago in 1998 my mother out of no where at 61 was diagnosed with a GBM she died 6 months later, i was tramatized. my brother died 8 years prior and my father when I was a baby. Now at 25 I was all alone. Aprill of 1999 I conceived spontaneuos idetical twin girls! What a blessing, I was giving my family back all at once i felt. The Harvard doctors tried to get me to terminated saying they would be totally handicapped thats if they made it. Well I made it to 29 weeks. They were 11 weeks early and one of my daughter had a subdural hematoma. which resulted in a minor form of Cerebral Pasly. My twins will be 21 this month. Thank God I didnt listen to those doctors... Now Dr. Kelly My mother, my daughter, and myself brains were all affected in the same location. I am becoming a new person. Abilities that we possess that most never have access to are opening in my brain. The doctors dont want to say how it is very possible this could be happening. But of course they have nothing to go by from the past. Also they oppose my spiritual beleifs. Well I dont care 3 of us having brain hemmorages in the same location. I am sure they dont have anything to compare it to...

When I was 14 years of age I lost consciousness fell backwards and smashed my head on a granite headstone.When I came to I had extreme headache for at least three days and also unable to sleep for the same period of time.Strangely when I touched metal objects too I got electric shocks in my hands on and off for some time.The pain and other symptoms settled but I've never felt the same in my self ever since the fall,would you know if injury to that part of my head could affect personality I.e. i experienced depression and fatigue and anxiety since that time,thank you.

hello Dr. Thank you for this video. I just found it. My mtbi happened 2007 from car accident. I hit the steering wheel. Thirteen years later I have improved. I have to plan my own health plan. The neuro drs. I saw wouldn't acknowledge I have a brain injury. Also no support from anywhere or anyone. I have a strong spirit hope and now faith.

I have had at least 5 concussions. My first two both happened in less than a week. After the two concussion, I developed hypertension. About a year later, I had a third concussion and my high blood pressure became a lot worse. I would have extremely high blood pressure a few times it was stroke level. I am only 21, and I am the ideal weight for my height. I had a lot of tests done on me, but the doctors couldn’t find anything causing my high blood pressure. They just said it must be hereditary. So far no one in my family other than myself has developed hypertension under the ago of 55. Does anyone else believe that their concussion(s) caused long term high blood pressure?

Thank you for explaining the effects of concussions‼️My 15 year old granddaughter experienced one after a game of water polo. It has lasted over 4 wks.

My husband got fall from cycle. He dont remember how the accident happened. The MRI and CT scan was fine.and from next day of accident he is fine.. It has been 4 days passed the accident happened but he still do not remember how the accident happened. Please suggest

I’m currently 16 bout to turn 17 in a couple months & I recently had a TBI. I fell off the trunk of a friends car and landed on my right side of the head and bounced on the back of my head. I had a subdural hematoma with three brain bleeds and a fractured skull. It was an emergency brain surgery and had a craniotomy performed. I flew in a helicopter with little of consciousness & went to another location to have a surgery. The doctors said there was massive pressure in my brain and half of my butterfly was gone because of it. The brain bleed took more than half of my brain. I’m a month and some weeks in recovery but do not remember the 2 -3 weeks after. Once my 3 week mark hit I was able to be more aware of my surroundings and able to walk. My surgeon was afraid of brain damage but walked out with none. It took a while at first for me to be able to speak, walk, and eat. I get nauseous, dizzy, and have huge headaches internally and externally from my skull. I have neck spasms due to me wearing a neck brace , the trauma, and my fracture. My fracture missed my spine by an inch. It’s a very emotional, mental, and physical obstacle to pass through. Whoever needs to read it , it will surpass. The surgeon called me a miracle and had warned my family previous to surgery of being in a coma, death, or severe brain damage. Thankfully, neither of those occurred. You will get through this!

Thank you for sharing your story because it gives me hope for my daughter’s 16 year old friend. She was badly injured 3 days ago in an alcohol related hit & run car accident. She’s currently unresponsive in the hospital with a small brain bleed and a bruise (contusion) on her frontal lobe. Various other injuries as well. We are all praying for her and the hospital staff. I’m so glad to hear that you are recovering from your injury ❤️. Best of luck and God bless!

God bless you

After an initial traffic collision whilst be dragged under a car , crushing my head , secured around a then crushed helmet . Still with feet secured to the bikes pedals I was flung flying into passing traffic . Supposedly being hit on the Helmet again .

I regained myself losing my bike and retreated , being asked to keep aside from what if any other witnesses where

I found myself with no evidence of Law Enforcement consideration but hospitalised with limited bodily movement .

Without any assessed signs of serious concussion I left hospital . Leaving no MRI or CT .

It took authorities in a Third Party Insurance Licensing System 6-7weeks for a MRI resulting from a traffic accident . After revisiting Hospitals numerous times with some serious Headaches .

I'm still in the dark but seemingly on my feet left to wait attention that may not have been met and little known evidence apart from my helmet and current brain functions .

A subtile approach has left doubt as to why no attention would be necessary as yet now on 5 months .

I was hit from behind while stopped at a red light. The damage suggests 60+ mph. I am told I was out of it for a minute and wailed. I was hit in the area behind my left ear by a water fountain My husband and I had purchased. At the ER I was told I was fine. I was give 5 days of pain pills. On the 6th day, my head hurt so badly I was vomiting. I returned to the ER and was given a ct scan which was normal. I was treated as a drug seeker by the young doctor who prescribed me Hydroxizine and told me to come back if I needed to talk and then gave me her hours that she worked in the ER. My doctor, my back surgeon, all the local doctors refused to help me. I spent the next two days holding my head hoping that it wouldn't explode from the pain. No one believed me that I was hurt. I have a physiatrist and a physical therapist. The physiatrist finally told me that I needed to seek help from a neurologist. I called several of the local neurologist to all declined to see me and that I was in an automobile accident and they do not want to be involved. When I walked away from dinner being cooked on the stove with no memory of starting dinner, I called my GP and told her I needed to see a neurologist. The neurologist didney EEG in August. I was also sent to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me as having psychosomatic memory loss due to stress. The results of my EEG says it is abnormal secondary to settle intermittent left greater than right frontal slowing the finding is suggestive of an underlying structural lesion. It is almost December and the neurologist has not yet seen me to tell me what the findings mean. I can't listen and retain what people say to me. And as best I can tell, no one cares.

Have you been evaluated at an emergency room? They might refer you to sports medicine for concussion. Have you contacted a personal injury lawyer?

My daughter, now 23, has a moderate TBI on February 17, 2017. She had a frontal lobe injury, a bleed in her thalamus, and a small diffuse axonal injury.
Neurosurgeon said her concussion was equal to a football players entire career of concussions.
Her memory is better, she still is quick to anger, and says things she regrets, but she is working, driving, and doing pretty good considering.
Her main complaints are headaches everyday,nothing helps, and feeling nauseous every morning. She has lost considerable weight , and she was very small to begin with..
Any advice would be appreciated, thank you

Kelly ;
I am so sorry to hear about your daughter's injury. I hope she has made progress since your comment.
I was wondering what doctor you met with to get the details regarding her injury? How did you find those results, Ct scan?
Thank you in advance if you get this message

Accident 39 years ago, in service, received no treatment, migraines and head pain every since. Multiple Neurologists, but I always told them no head trauma because I never knew, don’t remember. I received my military records and found out. Closed head injury and clear TBI. Just dandy. Explains EVERYTHING. pain often in am, upon awakening. I’m livid.

I'm almost 60 yrs old now. I was alway very athletic. Of course i also suffered from numerous injures. Everything from a badly broken nose at 19, broken c5 at 22 car accident at 17 with a bad scar above my.L eye , there is more. But, the last 3 yrs. I began to get hit ( by an x) in a very weird way. I have never experienced this before. What he did was, he would hit me from behind , ( so I didn't know that I was going to be hit) on about the C7 area on the of my neck. I would pass out instantly and then when I came to I found myself shaking violently. I tried to get help but everyone just laughed. I seem like a long time to get back to normal. But not sure how long it really was. My question is have you ever heard of this? Could this be very dangerous. my symptoms are: horrible headaches etc but the biggest problem lately is. Ilve lost parcel use of my upper right arm . My MD has just received approval from ins. Co to start the scans of my brain, arm neck. sincerely, Michele

Thank you for your video

I got hit on my head above my left forehead and after 3 weeks I am having pain like migraine and I found a small bump behind my left ear just above my neck and painful when push and the pain radiates on my shoulder. I have used migraine medications n other pain pills helps a little but not much and I have been suffering for 3 weeks now
I went to the doctor and told me maybe I am stressed but he told me to get Ct scan.

I got a concussion about 4 weeks ago I was doing pretty good but I have wet macular degeneration after I received my injections things started getting worse anxiety bad headaches dizziness what can I do to make it better