The Various Types Of Brain Injuries, Part 1

The attorneys at Powell Law have seen all types of injuries over the years, including the most serious, those related to the brain. Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability, contributing to approximately 30% of all deaths from injury. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. This blog is the first part of a series describing the various types of brain injuries.

According to The Various Types Of Brain Injuries, Part 1the Centers for Disease and Control Injury Prevention Center, the leading causes of traumatic brain injury are:

  • Falls: 40.5%
  • Unknown/Other: 19%
  • Struck by/Against: 15.5%
  • Motor Vehicle: 14.3%
  • Assault: 10.7%

Diffuse Axonal Injury

A Diffuse Axonal Injury may be caused by shaking or rotational forces, similar to Shaken Baby Syndrome. Injury to the brain occurs because the static brain lags behind the movement of the skull, thus extensively tearing nerve tissue, which may also cause the brain to release chemicals, causing further injury. This tearing of tissue disrupts the normal flow of communication and chemicals within the brain.


A concussion, the most common type of traumatic brain injury, may result from direct blows to the head, violent shaking of the head, force from a whiplash injury, or bullet wounds. Both closed and open head injuries may produce a concussion, which may not appear on diagnostic imaging tests.

This type of injury is caused when the brain suffers trauma from impact or sudden change in movement or momentum. Such trauma may stretch blood vessels in the brain and damage cranial nerves. Concussion victims usually feel dazed but often remain conscious.


A contusion, which is a bruise of the brain resulting in bleeding, may result from direct impact to the head. Large contusions may need to be surgically removed.

Coup-Contrecoup Injury

Coup-Contrecoup Injuries are contusions that exist at the site of a traumatic impact, as well as on the opposite side of the brain. Such injuries result from force to the powerful enough to cause both a contusion at the site of impact, and on the opposite side of the brain due to the pushing or slamming of the brain in this location.

Second Impact Syndrome

This type of brain injury, also known as “recurrent traumatic brain injury,” occurs when an individual afflicted with a TBI that has still not completely healed suffers a second traumatic brain injury. As one would expect, the second injury is more likely to cause swelling of the brain and pervasive damage. A second injury is often life-threatening and requires emergency medical treatment.

Penetrating Injury

A penetrating injury to the brain occurs from the impact of some object like a bullet or knife that injects or forces hair, skin, bone and other fragments into the brain. Even objects moving at a low rate of speed may ricochet inside the skull, thus further spreading the area of damage. Some objects may cause a “through-and-through” injury by entering the skull, moving through the brain, and exiting the skull. Bullet wounds result in an extraordinarily high death rate as one would expect.

This disturbance in the brain can produce temporary or permanent widespread brain damage, coma, or death. A person with a diffuse axonal injury may present a variety of functional impairments depending on where the shearing (tears) occurred in the brain.

If you or a loved one has suffered any type of brain injury as a result of an accident or incident of medical malpractice, contact Powell Law at call (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE and you don’t pay anything unless we win.

Request a Free Consultation

Contact Us