What Are the Signs of a Serious Head Injury?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2018
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A head injury is any traumatic injury sustained by the head. Such an injury is considered to be a serious head injury if it presents major risks to the continued well-being of the injured individual. These risks are normally related to brain damage which can occur in severe cases of head trauma and which can have severe deleterious effects if they are handled improperly. Symptoms such as unconsciousness, confusion, persistent drowsiness, and speech problems are all indicative of traumatic brain injury and should be assessed and treated by a professional. Large, visible wounds, excessive bleeding, and substantial swelling can also indicate relatively serious injury.

Traumatic brain injury is the most significant concern associated with major head injury. A variety of different neurological symptoms such as dizziness, seizure, difficulty seeing or hearing, and difficulties in understanding writing or speech can all indicate traumatic brain injury. Physical symptoms such as uneven pupil sizes or blood flowing from the ears or nose can also indicate traumatic brain injury and, therefore, potentially serious head injury. Longer-term symptoms of traumatic brain injury include difficulty sleeping or waking, loss of memory, vomiting, and loss of concentration. The severity of such injuries can vary substantially, and such symptoms should be assessed by a medical professional in order to determine if any treatment or therapy is necessary.


It is possible for a head injury to be serious without traumatic brain injury. Head wounds tend to bleed a great deal, and it may be difficult to control the bleeding from a serious head injury. Severe bleeding and swelling may also indicate damage to the skull. A traumatic head injury may, depending on the nature of the incident, be accompanied by back or neck injuries, which can also be quite debilitating and which should, therefore, be taken as seriously as head injuries.

After a serious head injury, the injured individual should not attempt to move himself, and other people should not attempt to move him unless it is absolutely necessary for avoiding further injury. Movement could aggravate any damage done to the head, neck, or back, and therefore increase the overall seriousness of the injury. It is important for medical professionals to assess the damage done and to determine if hospitalization or serious treatment of some form is necessary. In general, recovery from serious head injuries can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, months, or even longer in particularly severe cases.


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Post 2

I think it's pretty obvious things are serious when someone is bleeding or has clear fluid coming from the ears and/or nose. It's not as obvious if the person appears to be fine. That's what happened to the actress Natasha Richardson. She seemed to be fine after she hit her head during a skiing lesson. She refused medical treatment, and was finally taken to the ER when she started complaining of a terrible headache a few hours later.

I think they ruled the cause of death as bleeding on the brain.

The moral of the story is, if you have any kind of blow to the head, see a doctor, no matter how trivial you think it is.

Post 1

Severe nausea can come pretty quickly after a serious head injury, and it should ring alarm bells. Also, memory loss or confusion are symptoms.

My cousin got a concussion in a car accident and she kept asking what had happened to her. In the ER, she had no memory of the incident. That was 30 years ago, and she still doesn't remember that night.

She was on bed rest for two days, and the first night, her mother had to wake her up every two hours. She also wanted to brush her teeth every time she got up. She didn't remember she had brushed them.

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