Brain Injury Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is brain injury and recovery determined?

A brain injury is labeled mild, moderate and severe. There are scales used in the medical field that each have their own criteria to meet. Each one helps doctors determine the level of recovery that may be achieved and the extent of the damage. It may take years to figure out exactly how much damage was caused.

2. How often does a severe brain injury happen?

Each year, more than 1,000,000 develop a mild to severe brain injury through an accident. That is over 2,000 people every day! Anyone can sustain a brain injury, young or old, rich or poor. Injury does not discriminate against anyone.

3. Do the safety features like a seatbelt, helmet or airbag prevent brain injury?

When used properly yes they do! Seat belts and airbags prevent your head from striking the windshield or steering wheel; helmets protect your head from the pavement.

4. How does a brain injury affect the victim?

All brain injuries are different. The extent of damage depends on the extent of the damage and the symptoms and how the victim’s life is affected. The initial trauma of the injury is described as mild, moderate or severe. The amount of damage does not determine the last effects of a brain injury. Every case is different when the brain is involved. The victim of a brain injury may experience memory loss, trouble walking, talking, swallowing, breathing or incontinence.

5. Does physical therapy or rehab help?

Studies have shown that physical therapy helps many people with a brain injury to some degree. Therapy helps some people relearn things from their past. It is possible to relearn to walk after a brain injury for some victims. However, some people have brain damage so severe they will require around the clock care for the remainder of their lives.

6. What do we do when the rehabilitation process is over?

Some victims of a brain injury require years of physical therapy to gain any level of independent function.

7. What is a coma?

A coma is when the brain is at its lowest level of function. The person in a coma appears to be sleeping and can’t be awakened. A brain injury can cause swelling of the brain causing the victim to lapse into a coma. They can also be caused by seizures, lack of oxygen, an infection around the brain, an overdose of medication or a stroke. When a person has a traumatic brain injury they are at risk for brain bleeds or other problems and should go to an ER immediately.