Brain Injuries
CRM: Characteristics—Brain Injuries
Concussion Recognition & Management
Module 2 Characteristics & Epidemiology

Brain Injuries

crumbled paper head with red area around brain

There are levels of traumatic brain injury (TBI). A concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury. Though all concussions are mild TBIs, they can be categorized as simple or complex, depending on the combination and duration of symptoms. 

With proper management, most concussions (mild TBIs) will resolve. However, a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury involves greater damage than can be adequately treated with concussion management.


  mild TBI, includes all concussions moderate TBI severe TBI
Glasgow Coma Scale 13 - 15 9 - 12 3 - 8
Post-Traumatic Amnesia Less than 1 day Between 1 & 7 days More than 7 days
Loss of Consciousness 0 to 30 minutes Between 30 minutes
& 24 hours
More than 24 hours
Recovery Time "Simple" Concussion
Less than 14 days
"Complex" Concussion
14 or more days
Some symptoms may resolve within 12 months;
some may be permanent.

Whether simple or complex, concussions can involve
an overlapping range of symptoms
as well as varied duration and long term effects.

Thinking Remembering Symptoms image
  • Difficulty thinking clearly.
  • Feeling slowed down.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Difficulty remembering new information.
Emotional Mood Symptoms image
  • Irritability.
  • Sadness.
  • More emotional.
  • Nervousness or anxiety.
Physical Symptoms image
  • Headache.
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision.
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on).
  • Dizziness.
  • Sensitivity to noise or light.
  • Balance problems.
  • Feeling tired, having no energy.
Sleep Symptoms image
  • Sleeping more than usual.
  • Sleeping less than usual.
  • Trouble falling asleep.
General Symptoms image As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states:
"Some of these symptoms may appear right away, while others may not be noticed for days or months after the injury, or until the person starts resuming their everyday life and more demands are placed upon them. Sometimes, people do not recognize or admit that they are having problems. Others may not understand why they are having problems and what their problems really are, which can make them nervous and upset."
Source: CDC

Module 2 Characteristics & Epidemiology

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