What is a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?
Although there is no one definition of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) agreed upon by all physicians, here is a good one from Neil N. Jasey, M.D., director of brain injury rehabilitation at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, New Jersey:
“A brain injury occurs when a blow or jolt to the head or body disrupts normal brain function, typically causing a change in mental status or consciousness. While radiographic evidence of a brain injury may not be apparent, long-lasting cognitive and behavioral effects can result.” Dr. Jasey cautions that: “Unlike physical injuries, such as a sprain or broken bone, the signs of a [mild] brain injury may not present themselves immediately. Initial symptoms may include confusion, disorientation, headache, nausea and extreme fatigue.
Over time, other symptoms, including irritability, difficulty with memory or concentration, and even depression, may appear along with impaired judgment, behavioral issues and personality changes.” Remember that MTBI is substantially equivalent to a concussion, that it does not require coma or any complete loss of consciousness (however brief), and that it can be caused by whiplash alone with blunt head trauma.