Traumatic Brain Injury

  • 100 mild head injuries in NZ every day
  • Men are twice as likely to suffer mild TBI than women
  • Men 3x more likely to suffer moderate TBI than women

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when some external force has caused damage to the brain.

TBI ranges in severity of damage and symptoms, however our understanding of how the brain responds even to mild injury is still in its infancy and research is ongoing to understand how blunt trauma can increase the risk of a wide variety of neurological conditions.

Brain injuries are extremely common in New Zealand, with more than 100 cases per day around the country ranging from mild concussion to the more severe. When someone suffers a brain injury, we use a measure called the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to describe their level of consciousness. GCS measures a person’s motor, verbal and eye responses on a scale of 3 to 15 with 15 being perfectly awake and conscious.

Unfortunately GCS is not a good measure for the long term effects of a brain injury, and ongoing symptoms vary greatly. If you receive a head injury of any kind, and are concussed, you should consult a medical professional immediately.

Signs and Symptoms:

TBI can result in a range of problems. Some of the immediate symptoms might include:

  • Headache
  • Vomiting and Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Blurred Vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Dizziness and loss of coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech

If someone receives a head injury and is suffering any of these symptoms, call 111 immediately.

The long-term effects of brain injury will vary greatly depending on the severity and part of the brain affected by the injury. Brain injury patients often present with significant changes in mood, behaviour, cognitive reasoning and sensory perception.

Causes and Treatment:

A Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when the head receives a force significant enough that the skull could not entirely protect the brain.

The most common causes of Traumatic Brain Injury are sporting injuries, motor vehicle accidents, assault and falls. 

Support Organisations:

Headway -

Brain Injury New Zealand -

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