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A traumatic brain injury can severely impact an individual’s well-being and mental and physical function. Sports injuries, falls and auto accidents commonly cause TBI, although the signs of this type of injury may not arise for days or weeks.

If you or a loved one has experienced a blow to the head, look out for the symptoms of TBI and see a doctor right away if they occur.

Physical symptoms

A person who has a TBI may experience dizziness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, nausea or vomiting. Ringing in the ears, blurred vision and other sensory issues are also common. When injury is more severe, the person could be unconscious for days or weeks. Slurred speech, numbness in the limbs, dilated pupils, impaired coordination and seizures can also signify a severe TBI.

Cognitive symptoms

With a TBI, the person may seem disoriented or confused, and sometimes develops difficulties speaking or understanding the speech of others. At the time of the injury, he or she may briefly lose consciousness. Difficulty concentrating or memory loss may occur with a TBI.

Mood-related symptoms

Mood swings often signify a TBI, so be aware of unexpected crying jags followed by unusually high spirits. The person may also develop anxiety or depression after this type of injury. If a TBI is severe, an individual may show unusually angry or aggressive behavior.

TBI in children

If your child has a head injury, seek emergency medical care as soon as possible. TBI can be difficult to diagnose in your children. Look for signs such as impaired focus, persistent crying, seizures, mood changes, drowsiness, lack of interest in activities, change in regular nursing or eating and other unusual behavior.

Keep yourself and family members safe by taking steps to reduce the risk for brain injury. Make sure you always wear the right type of properly fitted helmet when engaged in sports and physical activities. Use safety gates on stairs to prevent young children from falls. Prevent auto accidents by refraining from dangerous behaviors such as driving under the influence and texting behind the wheel.