Traumatic Brain Injury


According to the National Institute of Neurological Health and Strokes, “When damage to the brain occurs, nerve and brain cells are damaged. This results in bleeding in the brain. As a result, the brain is deprived of the oxygen it needs.”


There are generally two kinds of traumatic brain injuries: open or closed wounds. 

In a closed wound injury, no damage to the brain is visible.  When there is a blow to the head, the skull rocks back and forth and the brain follows, causing nerve fibers to be stretched, twisted, or torn. Sometimes, the ridges of the skull can collide, and more damage occurs. Arteries and veins in the brain may be damaged allowing blood to leak in the brain.

In an open wound injury, the brain is exposed and damaged.  In instances when the brain is crushed, the base of the skull and the nerves in the brain stem are harmed.


What happens at the exact moment when a brain injury occurs and what happens immediately after is critical to a person’s chances of recovery. The complications which follow the immediate blow (for example, bleeding in the brain, fluids leaking from the brain and lack of oxygen to the brain) often cause “secondary cell death”.  However, the damage can be reduced with immediate medical help and proper treatment.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Health and Strokes, damage to blood vessels can cause hematoma or heavy bleeding around the brain. This can cause great pain to the patient, as well as swelling of the brain tissues. The pressure on the skull can be mortal.

If the pressure is not relieved – unlike swelling of the ankle or knee, there’s no room for swelling inside the head. Thus, if medical personnel suspect that swelling could occur, they may insert a catheter into the brain to measure how severe the brain injury is. They can undertake a procedure that drains fluid from the brain to relieve the pressure. Sometimes drugs can also be used to relieve the pressure.

More damage can occur in a traumatic injury if veins or arteries are severed and oxygen – or not enough oxygen – reaches the brain. The National Institute of Neurological Health and Strokes and other health organizations that study and treat traumatic brain injury use the Glasgow or other measurement scales to see how severe the brain injury might be at the scene of an accident or attack.


Medical personnel may also test the person’s temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and responsiveness. These initial tests are important in determining how severe a traumatic brain injury could be and in taking steps to prevent secondary damage. If the patient is not breathing properly or there’s a worry about lack of blood flow to the brain, administer CPR and sometimes open a person’s airways to make sure he or she is breathing.

Because brain injury is often accompanied by neck or spinal cord injuries, emergency medical personnel take great care not to move the patient until they can be properly stabilized. According to the National Institute of Neurological Health, damage to blood vessels can cause hematomas or heavy bleeding around the brain.

If your loved one describes an injury that they’ve sustained overseas such as an explosion, a fall, or a vehicle accident that caused a head injury or a bump on the head, be sure that they’re getting qualified medical care. Don’t let them stay by themselves and be sure to contact a DBA attorney. The first round of medical care is the most important.

If you are injured on duty, and even before you are deployed overseas, you can always contact Garfinkel Schwartz Law Firm and send us your questions. We have a 24-hour line (+1) 800-393-2999 available for you to call us at any time.  We will get back to you as soon as possible.