Classifying a brain injury as “traumatic” may imply that such an injury is relatively rare. Yet in reality, TBI’s are quite common. Indeed, according to information shared by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 1.7 million people suffer such injuries in the U.S. each year. Many might equate a TBI with debilitating effects that leave one either significantly impaired or in a vegetative state and require around the clock care. Even though that may be the outcome of some TBI cases, there are actually varying degrees of brain injury severity.
The family and/or friends of one who has sustained a TBI might be able to develop an idea as to what their long-term prognosis may be thanks to the Glasgow Coma Scale. This is a standard used by clinicians in the immediate aftermath of a brain injury case to determine the extent of the potential brain damage that may have occurred. The TBI victim’s eye movement, speech capacity and motor skills are observed and assigned a point value. The scores from each of the aforementioned categories are then added together.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total points possible is 15. Scores of 13 and above indicate that one has suffered a mild TBI (the equivalent of a concussion). Nine to 12 points implies that one’s TBI is moderate, while any score of eight or below indicates a severe brain injury. The lower one’s score, the less likely that person is to completely recover from their TBI. Even those that do recover may still be forced with long-term side-effects. The AANS estimates that as many as 5.3 million Americans live with some form of disability related to a TBI.