4 Common TBI Misconceptions

Every year, about 1.7 million Americans suffer from a traumatic brain injury, or a TBI. Additionally, TBIs results in 235,000 hospitalizations each year, and account for an estimated 2,685 deaths among children ages 14 and younger, plus long-term or lifelong disabilities for 80,000 people. These statistics from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons show that TBIs are a major cause of injuries and fatalities in the United States, but many people still have misconceptions about TBIs, including what they are and how they’re most commonly caused. To help you better understanding the severity of a TBI and to prevent one from happening to yourself or a loved one, here are four misconceptions about TBIs.

Before delving into these four misconceptions about TBIs, it’s important to understand what a TBI really is. A TBI is a type of brain injury that occurs when sudden trauma, like during a car accident or fall, causes damage to the brain.

Misconception: A TBI is only caused by a blow to the head.

While TBIs do often occur due to a blow to the head from a foreign object, like a piece of debris during a car accident, they can also occur when the brain is shaken inside the skull. This means that TBIs can be caused by whiplash or other sudden movements, or during a collision with another person or object.

Additionally, there are types of TBIs that have causes other than sudden trauma. There are four main types of TBIs:

  • Concussions, which are caused during an impact or sudden movement
  • Brain contusions, which occur when blood vessels in the brain leak or break
  • Penetrating brain injuries, which occur when an object pierces through the skull
  • Anoxic brain injuries, or injuries that occur when the brain does not receive enough oxygen to properly operate, leading to the death of cells within the brain

While concussions and penetrating brain injuries are caused by outside trauma, the other two types of brain injuries show that TBIs are not just caused by sudden trauma to the skull.

Misconception: Only athletes get TBIs.

It’s true that head injuries are a major concern for athletes, particularly football players. However, football players aren’t the only ones who can be impacted by a TBI. Anyone can suffer from a TBI, and they can have many causes outside of sports, including:

  • Car accidents
  • Workplace falls
  • General slip-and-falls
  • Domestic violence
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Combat-related injuries

Anyone, from an elderly person in a nursing home to a soldier serving overseas, can become the victim of a TBI.

Misconception: If someone does not lose coconsciousness after a blow to the head, they do not have a TBI.

TBIs have many symptoms. While fainting or loss of consciousness does often accompany a TBI, it is not the only symptom. For example, some other symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion or dazed appearance

It’s important to be aware of all the signs of a TBI, as properly treating and addressing a TBI can make a big difference in a victim’s recovery.

Misconception: Aside from initial symptoms like confusion or a loss of consciousness, a minor TBI does not have long-lasting consequences.

A TBI can lead to long-term or lifelong struggles or disabilities. Even a minor TBI can lead to changes in brain chemistry, which can cause changes in a person’s behavior, emotions, physical health, and cognitive skills. In the weeks, months, and even years after sustaining a head injury, TBI victims might experience:

  • Behavior changes, like aggression and anger
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficult understanding, speaking, or remembering
  • Inability to form new memories
  • Balance issues
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Frequent or severe headaches

Learn More!

These are just four misconceptions about TBIs. To learn more about traumatic brain injuries and how to protect yourself and your loved ones, check out some of our blogs on TBIs. If you or a loved one have recently suffered a TBI due to someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, please see our page on TBIs to learn how we can help you find compensation and justice.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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