What Are Common Signs of Brain Injuries?

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Brain injuries can be caused by a number of accidents in Nebraska, from motor vehicle collisions to falls. Some brain injuries show immediate signs and symptoms, while others take a few hours or even days for symptoms to arise. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of a brain injury so that you receive the medical care that you need. Waiting to see a doctor increases the odds of suffering serious or permanent damage to the brain’s tissues.

Brain with bandage around it.


A victim may notice a headache soon after hitting his or her head in an accident. It may be a sign of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) if the headache is severe, chronic or persistent. If the headache worsens over time or will not go away with typical remedies, it could be a sign of more severe trauma to the head or brain.

Sensitivity to Light and Sound

If a victim is suddenly sensitive to light and/or sound, his or her brain might have suffered trauma in the accident. If loud noises or bright lights cause a headache, pain behind the eyes, eye irritation, ear pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or another unusual reaction, this could be a sign of something wrong. 

Nausea or Vomiting

Head and brain injuries can cause nausea in some people. Experiencing nausea, an upset stomach or vomiting after an accident could mean that the victim has suffered a traumatic brain injury. Loss of appetite is also a possibility.

Pupil Dilation

If you are checking for a brain injury in someone else, one way to test for damage is to see if one or both pupils are dilated (the black center of the eye is larger than normal). You can shine a light into the accident victim’s eye to see if the pupil responds appropriately by constricting (shrinking). If it stays dilated, this is a sign of a possible brain injury.

Loss of Consciousness

Losing consciousness, even for a moment, is a sign of a brain injury. As a general rule of thumb, the longer a victim is unconscious after a head injury, the more serious the damage might be to the brain. Loss of consciousness for a few seconds, for example, may point to a minor concussion, while being unconscious for several hours or days is more likely to be connected to a severe TBI. 

Excessive Drowsiness

Fatigue or excessive drowsiness are common symptoms associated with head and brain injuries after an accident. A victim may wish to go to sleep soon after the accident – but should be advised to go to a doctor first to check for signs of a loss of consciousness (coma) rather than typical sleep. Being unable to awaken after falling asleep is also a sign of a brain injury.

Convulsions or Seizures

Serious brain injuries, such as bleeding or swelling in the brain, could lead to convulsions or seizures. Seizures are relatively rare; about 10 percent of TBI victims who are hospitalized experience convulsions. Most victims with this symptom can resume normal activities with anti-seizure medications.

Confusion or Memory Loss

The signs and symptoms of a brain injury are not only physical. A victim can also experience cognitive changes and challenges. Damage to the brain’s tissues can have a wide variety of mental effects, such as confusion, disorientation, memory loss, trouble communicating, difficulty concentrating, trouble doing math and difficulty with comprehension. These symptoms may be short-term or long-term.

Behavioral and Personality Changes

Some traumatic brain injuries result in behavioral and personality changes in the victim. A victim may experience increased irritability or become easily angered, for example, or feel more frustrated or emotional. Behavioral problems and outbursts may be more common in young children. The emotional and psychological side of suffering a brain injury could also result in behavioral changes, such as depression and anxiety. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a brain injury after a preventable accident in Nebraska, contact the Omaha brain injury lawyers at Knowles Law Firm for a free initial case consultation.