A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be caused by a forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, or from an object that pierces the skull and enters the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI.
Some types of TBI can cause temporary or short-term problems with normal brain function, including problems with how the person thinks, understands, moves, communicates, and acts. More serious TBI can lead to severe and permanent disability, and even death.
Some injuries are considered primary, meaning the damage is immediate. Other outcomes of TBI can be secondary, meaning they can occur gradually over the course of hours, days, or appear weeks later. These secondary brain injuries are the result of reactive processes that occur after the initial head trauma.
There are two broad types of head injuries: Penetrating and non-penetrating.
- Penetrating TBI (also known as open TBI) happens when an object pierces the skull (e.g., a bullet, shrapnel, bone fragment, or by a weapon such as hammer or knife) and enters the brain tissue. Penetrating TBI typically damages only part of the brain.
- Non-penetrating TBI (also known as closed head injury or blunt TBI) is caused by an external force strong enough to move the brain within the skull. Causes include falls, motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, blast injury, or being struck by an object.
Military duties increase the risk of sustaining a TBI. Blasts are a leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in combat. Other causes of TBI in the military are:
- Bullets and fragments
- Motor vehicle-traffic crashes
Confidential Help is Available
You’re not alone. We’re here to help. Call the confidential phone number at 1-877-455-4927 at any time day or night or visit www.illinoiswarrior.org to chat with a specialist. Call now – 877-455-IWAP (4927).
IWAP warm helpline is NOT a hot line, crisis line or suicide prevention line. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, please call 988 and select 1 or in an emergency call 911.
Signs and Symptoms
- Convulsions or seizures
- Blurred or double vision
- Unequal eye pupil size or dilation
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Nausea and vomiting
- New neurologic deficit, such as slurred speech; weakness of arms, legs, or face; loss of balance
- Loss of or change in consciousness anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours
- Decreased level of consciousness (e.g., hard to awaken)
- Mild to profound confusion or disorientation
- Problems remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
- Changes in sleep patterns (e.g., sleeping more, difficulty falling or staying asleep); inability to waken from sleep
- Frustration, irritability
- Light-headedness, dizziness, vertigo, or loss of balance or coordination
- Blurred vision
- Hearing problems, such as ringing in the ears
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Mood changes or swings, agitation, combativeness, or other unusual behavior
- Feeling anxious or depressed
- Fatigue or drowsiness; a lack of energy or motivation
Is there any treatment?
Fortunately, there are treatments for TBI available. The first step is getting connected to services for TBI. Call Illinois Warrior Assistance Program at (877) 455-IWAP (4927).
IWAP is a confidential resource provided by the State of Illinois. It is not connected to the U.S. Armed Forces or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
IWAP services are provided by Illinois Joining Forces.
Get Help Now
Call the confidential warm helpline at 1-877-455-4927 or visit the web with live chat availability at www.illinoiswarrior.org any time day or night to connect to a Care Coordination Specialist.
IWAP warm helpline is NOT a hot line, crisis line or suicide prevention line. If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, please call 988 and select 1 or in an emergency call 911