There are generally three levels of TBI: mild, moderate and severe.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Mild traumatic brain injury occurs when:
- Loss of consciousness is very brief, usually a few seconds or minutes
- Loss of consciousness does not have to occur—the person may be dazed or confused
- Testing or scans of the brain may appear normal
A mild traumatic brain injury is diagnosed only when there is a change in the mental status at the time of injury—the person is dazed, confused, or loses consciousness—think of this as a concussion.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
- A loss of consciousness lasts from a few minutes to a few hours
- Confusion lasts from days to weeks
- Physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral impairments last for months or are permanent.
Persons with moderate traumatic brain injury generally can make a good recovery with treatment or successfully learn to compensate for their deficits.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Severe head injuries usually result from crushing blows or penetrating wounds to the head that crush, rip and shear delicate brain tissue. This is the most life threatening type of brain injury and often results in death without immediate medical attention. Persons suffering severe traumatic brain injuries will likely experience permanent loss of brain functions affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions.