A closed head injury is a trauma in which the brain is injured as a result of a blow to the head, or a sudden, violent motion that causes the brain to knock against the skull. A closed head injury is different from an open head injury, in that no object actually penetrates the brain. Closed head injuries can be diffuse, meaning that they affect cells and tissues throughout the brain; or focal, meaning that the damage occurs in one area. Closed head injuries can range from mild to severe.
Causes of Closed Head Injury
Common causes of closed head injury include automobile accidents, assault, falls, work-related accidents, and sports-related accidents.
Symptoms of Closed Head Injury
Symptoms of severe closed head injury usually present themselves immediately, while symptoms of mild head injury can show up days or even weeks after an injury. Symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Dilated pupils
- Respiratory issues
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cerebrospinal fluid leaking from nose or ears
- Speech and language problems
- Vision issues
- Emotional and behavioral changes
Prognosis of Closed Head Injury
Degree and rate of recovery is highly dependent upon individual circumstances. The amount of time spent unconscious or in a coma, as well as how much of normal activity is recovered within the first month, are good indicators of long-term recovery.