Brain injury is damage to the brain caused by trauma or disease
Traumatic brain injury is caused either externally by physical force to the head or internally by, for example, lack of oxygen to the brain. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries and assaults are common reasons for many traumatic brain injuries.
A skull fracture is a blow to the head that damages the skin and bones of the skull as well as the brain itself. Treatment for a skull fracture varies with the location and the severity of the fracture. Many skull fractures cause mild to severe motor, cognitive, visual and behavioral disabilities.
A brain contusion is a blow to the brain that causes bruising of the brain and a noticeable loss of functions. Where the head injury causes bleeding between the skull and the covering of the brain, an epidural hematoma occurs. Between the membrane covering the brain and the brain itself, a subdural hematoma. A craniotomy is a surgical treatment for hematomas.
A brain injury usually causes loss of consciousness for anywhere from a few minutes to days, weeks or months. If the loss of consciousness is short, return to full or nearly full function is likely. As the loss of consciousness or coma lengthens, however, intellectual-cognitive and sensory-motor impairment, physical disabilities, and behavioral disorders can occur. A person in a coma cannot speak, open his or her eyes, or respond to external stimuli. For more information on the coma state and for support for those who wait for their loved ones to awaken from those who have waited, visit www.waiting.com.
Brain injury does not, however, always involve loss of consciousness. Brain trauma, with little or no loss of consciousness, can also cause temporary or permanent brain damage.