Brain Injuries

The brain can experience several different types of sport-related and non-sport-related injuries. Every person's situation differs depending on the force of impact, type of force and your history of brain injuries. We treat both adult and pediatric brain injuries.

Brain injuries can have a long-lasting impact on your life, so a visit to see a specialist is encouraged when you or someone you know has suffered a blow to the head or notices symptoms of a head injury.

Traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury—or TBI—results from either a direct blow to the head or from indirect force of sudden acceleration or deceleration—like whiplash. There must also be some indication of altered senses such as confusion, loss of memory of the event, appearing dazed or stunned, or being forgetful of basic information. Mild TBI—or a concussion—refers to injuries in which loss of consciousness is less than 30 minutes—though it can many times occur without any loss of consciousness—or loss of memory for the event is less than 24 hours.

Symptoms of traumatic brain injury

In the majority of mild TBI cases, symptoms are typically resolved in two to three weeks, though in some cases of mild TBI—as with the majority of moderate TBI—symptoms can last longer and interfere in daily functioning in subtle ways.

Physical Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Altered balance
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Visual disturbance
  • Sleep disturbance

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Poor memory
  • Poor concentration
  • Slowed thinking
  • Confusion

Emotional Changes

  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Becoming more withdrawn

In children there may be a decline in grades or behavioral disturbance. In adults there may be a decline in work performance or ability to keep up with household needs.

If you suspect a TBI

If you or a loved one has an injury to the head with these symptoms, please contact your local emergency room or urgent care center immediately. The key to recovery from TBI is rest, limiting demanding activities, avoiding alcohol and avoiding activities that could lead to another blow to the head.

For individuals who continue to experience these symptoms beyond one to two weeks, Gundersen offers the Traumatic Brain Injury Team. The team helps coordinate appropriate specialists from a variety of departments. They evaluate each individual and determine the best plan of care. The team talks with the individual, as well as family members and loved ones, about the physical and emotional effects that a TBI has on everyone involved. They provide information and put people in touch with local resources and a variety of services.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System delivers great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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