The effect of brain injuries

Head and brain injuries are some of the most affecting traumas a person can go through. There are few other personal injuries someone can sustain that have the potential to alter their personality, as well as present a risk of death.

Suffering from a brain injury can be life changing. Depending on the severity, a brain injury victim can suffer from physical, cognitive and behavioural complications and problems as a result.


There are two types of brain injury: traumatic brain injury and acquired brain injury. Traumatic brain injury is caused by an external force, such as a blow to the head, which causes the brain to move inside the skull or damages the skull. This then damages the brain.

Common causes of traumatic brain injury include car accidents, falls, sporting injuries, explosions and combat injuries, and blows to the head – often as a result of physical violence.

Acquired brain injury is associated with pressure on the brain. It could be caused by a tumour or neurological illness, such as in the case of a stroke, as well as by a heart attack or aneurysm.

This sort of injury can also be caused by poisoning or exposure to toxins, infection, strangulation, choking, drowning, or drug use.


The effects of a brain injury can be highly distressing – to both the victim of the injury and their loved ones. This is particularly true for the latter if the person affected has suffered behavioural complications as a result of the injury.

They may be more easily irritated and lose their patience far quicker. They may also become more aggressive and react in a heightened fashion to upsetting situations. Victims of brain injuries can also suffer from problems with self-control and trouble with following conversations.

When it comes to physical symptoms, victims of brain injuries can suffer from seizures, fluid building up on the brain and frequent headaches. However, these are comparatively minor effects. Some victims of brain injuries will end up in a coma or a vegetative state. Sufferers can stay in these states permanently or they can start to recover.

One state that cannot be recovered from, however, is brain death. When a brain injury victim ends up in a brain dead state, it is irreversible. This is the point where a person is being kept alive through artificial life support machines.


It may be difficult to eliminate all activities that present a risk of brain injury. This is particularly true if you’re an athlete taking part in sports like boxing, football, rugby, skateboarding and other extreme sports.

However, if you can take all the precautions possible, you will give yourself a better chance of avoiding a brain injury.

According to Mayo Clinic, the most high-risk groups are children, particularly those under four, young adults aged 15 to 24, adults aged 60 and over and boys and men in all age groups. These groups should take particular care when engaging in any potentially risky activity, even when this is just riding in a car.

Always wear seatbelts and put children in the appropriate car seats. Wear helmets or other forms of protective headgear during sporting activities. Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether illicit or prescription. If you or a loved one is at risk of a fall, install handrails around the house. Meanwhile, if you have children, stair gates and window guards can help prevent injuries.

Image copyright: Sergey Nivens