What are the Potential Effects of TBI?
The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness, to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.
TBI can cause a wide range of functional short- or long-term changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions.
- Thinking (i.e., memory and reasoning);
- Sensation (i.e., sight and balance);
- Language (i.e., communication, expression, and understanding); and
- Emotion (i.e., depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).1
TBI can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders that become more prevalent with age.1
About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.2
Repeated mild TBIs occurring over an extended period of time (i.e., months, years) can result in cumulative neurological and cognitive deficits. Repeated mild TBIs occurring within a short period of time (i.e., hours, days, or weeks) can be catastrophic or fatal.3
For information on how to prevent TBI and the potentially serious effects from this injury, please visit our TBI Prevention page.
CDC’s HEADS UP campaign also includes steps to help protect children and teens from concussion and other serious head and brain injuries both on and off the sports field. Learn more at HEADS UP's Brain Injury Safety Tips and Prevention page.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Traumatic brain injury: hope through research. Bethesda (MD): National Institutes of Health; 2002 Feb. NIH Publication No.: 02-158.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: steps to prevent a serious public health problem. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sports-related recurrent brain injuries—United States. MMWR 1997;46(10):224–227.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Facts about concussion and brain injury: Where to Get Help. 2010.