Consciousness is a state of mind that refers to self-awareness. It’s what lets us think new thoughts and plan for the future based on past experiences. Consciousness is constantly shifting, but sustaining a severe brain injury can suddenly change conscious states from fully alert and aware to confusion and panic.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury or TBI is defined as an injury to the brain from an external force. Common causes include physical assault, vehicle collisions, sports injuries, and falls. Judgement on an individual’s condition is evaluated based on Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), with 15 being normal and three for more serious conditions such as comatose states.
Brain injuries are classified according to their severity:
- Mild: Injuries that result in a brief loss of consciousness. The individual is awake with their eyes open but displays visible signs of disorientation.
- Moderate: Injuries that result in a loss of consciousness from 20 minutes to six hours. Some brain swelling may occur, causing sleepiness or drowsiness.
- Severe: Injuries that result in a loss of consciousness of more than six hours. The individual appears totally inert and eyes remain closed even with stimulation.
Why Do Brain Injuries Lead to Unconsciousness?
The reticular activating system (RAS) is one of the most important parts of the brain. It comprises a network of neurons that regulate wakefulness (a necessary condition for consciousness). Sudden trauma to the brain can cause the RAS to stop functioning properly, rendering a person incapable of becoming conscious even with stimulation.
Disorders of consciousness include coma, vegetative, and minimally conscious. Which state an individual is placed in largely depends on the type of injury sustained and the extent of any delayed trauma (known as a secondary injury).
Each case varies but sustaining a TBI can affect physical or cognitive abilities. Recovery is possible through intense rehabilitation and medical care, but the rate of improvement varies for each person.
If a loved one has sustained a serious brain injury, contact Mark Reynolds personal injury solicitors. We’ll help you determine if you have a compensation claim.