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What are the Potential Effects of TBI?

The severity of a traumatic brain injury (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).

A TBI can cause a wide range of functional short- or long-term changes affecting:

  • 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).


A TBI can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders.


About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.


Repeated mild TBIs occurring over an extended period of time 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.

For information on how to prevent TBI and the potentially serious effects from this injury, please visit TBI Prevention page.

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