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What are the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury can change a person's life forever. Whether it is a car accident, a workplace accident or a slip-and-fall, it is important for West Virginians to understand the symptoms of mild, moderate and severe brain injuries, so that the right steps can be taken to help mitigate the damage to the victim.

In a mild brain injury, the victim may lose consciousness very briefly, or may appeal confused. Sometimes a victim experiences dizziness. Stomach problems, such as nausea or vomiting, may occur. The victim may also complain of a headache. A victim's sleep can also be affected. The victim may feel drowsy, find sleep difficult or find that he or she sleeps longer than what is normal.

Sensory symptoms may also be present in a mild brain injury. The victim may find that his or her vision is blurry or they hear a ringing noise. Their sense of taste and smell may also be affected.

Cognitively, a mild brain injury can cause the victim to experience problems concentrating or remembering things. They may experience mood swings, including bouts of anxiety or depression.

Brain injury victims whose injuries are moderate to severe may exhibit the same symptoms as those experienced by a person with a mild brain injury, as well as others. The victim may lose consciousness for a longer period of time. They could even end up in a coma. The victim may have a worse headache than those suffered by mild brain injury victims. The victim may experience seizures. In addition, it is possible that the victim's eyes won't dilate properly. Fluid may drain from the victim's ears or nose, or the victim's extremities may become numb.

Cognitively, brain injuries that are moderate to severe may cause the victim to become extremely confused. They may act strangely, exhibiting agitation or in other ways not act like themselves. Their speech may be slurred.

It is important to understand what symptoms to look for if you suspect that a loved one has experienced a brain injury. Prompt medical treatment should be sought if it seems like a person has suffered a brain injury. After that, if the incident behind the person's brain injury was due to another's negligence, victims may want to consider their legal options, including the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the negligent party.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Traumatic brain injury," Accessed June 22, 2015

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