What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is sudden physical damage to the brain. The head can either forcefully hit an object (closed head injury) or something passing through the skull and piercing the brain (penetrating head injury), like a gunshot wound, can cause the traumatic brain injury. The leading cause of traumatic brain injures are from motor vehicle accidents, followed by falls, sports injuries, violent crimes, and child abuse.

Physical, behavioral, or mental changes are dependent upon which areas of the brain are injured. In most instances, focal brain damage is done, which is damage confined to just a small area of the brain at the point where the head has hit an object. Closed head injuries often causes scattered brain injuries or damage to other areas of the brain. An impact causing the brain to move back and forth against the skull is called diffuse damage. Frontal and temporal lobes, responsible for speech and language, are often the most affected by traumatic brain injuries because they sit in the areas of the skull that allows more room for the brain to shift and sustain injury. Frontal and temporal lobe TBIs affect speech and language, as well as voice, swallowing, walking, balancing, and coordination difficulties and changes in the ability to smell and in memory and cognitive skills.