What Is Blunt Force Trauma in a Head Injury?

The human brain has protection from a bony outer skull and a layer of cushioning fluid; however, this delicate organ that is the center of all bodily function, thought, and reasoning remains susceptible to injuries and even permanent damage with life-altering effects. Some brain injuries result from a violent shake or jarring that causes the brain to bump or twist against the inside of the skull but more commonly, head injuries are caused by blunt force trauma.

What are the common causes of blunt force trauma to the head, and how does the cascade of effects inside the brain after this type of head injury impact the victim?

Understanding Blunt Force Trauma in Brain Injuries

The medical term “blunt force trauma” describes any injury caused by a powerful blow from a blunt object as opposed to a sharp object causing a penetrating wound. Blunt force trauma head injuries occur when an object forcefully impacts the head or the head forcefully impacts an object. When this occurs it causes capillaries inside the skull to burst, resulting in contusions. In some cases, blunt force trauma to the head may be powerful enough to fracture the skull bones, causing serious injury. The severity of a blunt-force trauma head injury depends on the following:

  • The force of the impact
  • The speed of the impact
  • The surface area of the head in contact with the object during the blow

Blunt force trauma is also described in medical literature as “non-penetrating trauma.”

Common Causes of Blunt Force Trauma Injuries to the Head

While everyone has had the painful experience of bumping their head, for instance when getting into a car, typical bumps to the head result only in temporary pain and later tenderness in the area. But when the blow to the head involves significant force, the consequences to the brain become far more serious, resulting in injuries ranging from mild concussions to severe diffuse axonal injury with the potential for permanent impairment.

Common causes of blunt force trauma head injuries seen in hospitals include the following:

  • Car accidents: car accidents are the most common cause of serious blunt-force trauma injuries to the head
  • Falls: falls are the second-most common cause of blunt-force head injuries, particularly among the elderly, but also in workplace accidents
  • Sports injuries: mild to severe concussions are common in contact sports and may have a cumulative effect that causes dementia symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s syndrome later in life
  • Motorcycle accidents: helmets protect against blunt-force trauma to the head, but many states do not compel motorcyclists over the age of 18 to wear helmets
  • Assaults and criminal violence: blunt force head trauma results from physical attacks with blunt objects such as bats, sticks, bricks, rocks, or from kicks and punches to the head

Helmets provide protection against some causes of blunt-force head trauma such as motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and sports injuries.

Symptoms of Blunt Force Trauma in Head Injuries

Common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from blunt force trauma include the following:

  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss of the moments before the injury
  • Vision problems
  • Speech problems
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety, irritability, and other mood and behavioral changes

If you or a loved one experiences any of the above symptoms of TBI caused by blunt-force head injury, it’s critical to seek an immediate medical evaluation. Speak to a brain injury lawyer in Austin to learn more about your brain injury case and how we can help.