Can I Have a TBI Even If I Feel Fine?

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Can you have a concussion without knowing? Yes.

Traumatic brain injuries range from mild to severe, and the accompanying symptoms vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. Some symptoms do not appear until days after the injury, and they may not be apparent for weeks or even longer.

A black-and-white frontal shot of a woman holding her hands to her head in pain, with painful areas highlighted in red.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Headaches
  • Behavior or mood changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Dilated pupils or blurred vision
  • Dizziness, fainting, or fatigue
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Sensitivity to light and smell
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Slurred speech

It is possible to feel fine after a traumatic brain injury. According to the Hope Network, some people do not recognize their symptoms until they try to perform a certain skilled task or something that involves concentration, and they experience difficulty.

What Are Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms?

Severe TBI symptoms are similar to those of mild brain injuries. Doctors grade the severity of the traumatic brain injury by measuring the length of time that the patient’s symptoms persist.

According to the Mayo Clinic, initial signs that indicate a potentially severe traumatic brain injury include:

  • Loss of Consciousness: less than 30 minutes is considered mild, while longer than 24 hours is severe
  • Memory Lapse and Amnesia: lasting less than 24 hours is mild, and greater than seven days is severe
  • Abnormal Brain Diagnostic Imaging: mild injuries may appear normal immediately following the initial injury. Severe injuries usually appear as abnormal on brain scans but can still appear normal right after the injury. Follow-up visits are critical for brain injuries.

Just like mild brain injuries, symptoms may appear right away, or they may take days, weeks, or even longer to show themselves. The most common symptoms of severe traumatic brain injuries are as follows:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Dizziness, vertigo
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Seizures
  • Eye symptoms (dry eye, blurry vision, etc.)
  • Chronic pain
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Disruption of sleep
  • Emotional disorders

Headaches or Migraines

Headaches are probably the most common complaints patients have after a serious head injury. Almost half of all survivors of traumatic head injuries suffer from headaches or migraines at some point within the first year following their injuries.

The likelihood of all people with head injuries having headaches is high, no matter the severity of the injury or their recovery.

Dizziness and Vertigo

People with moderate to severe brain injuries will most likely experience dizziness or vertigo. These symptoms are typically long-lasting; over a third of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury survivors reported lightheadedness and imbalance five years after their injuries.

Dizziness and vertigo are often causes of disability and poor recovery.

Sensitivity to Light

Painful sensitivity to light is called photophobia. This symptom has been studied in veterans with serious brain injuries.

The research revealed that about 40% of patients with moderate to severe brain injuries developed light sensitivity and that number jumps to 70% when the patients had a loss of consciousness at the time of their injuries. Photophobia is the most common symptom of a traumatic brain injury that affects a person’s vision.

Sensitivity to Sound

Approximately 25% of survivors of brain injuries are left with a sensitivity to sound. They develop a lower tolerance for noise and find loud noises to be painful.


The risk of seizures following a traumatic brain injury is increased depending on the type and severity of the injury. Seizures are less common than other physical symptoms but may happen at any point after the injury and during the recovery phase.

The seizure almost always occurs in the exact location of the damage to the brain, whether it’s a scar or a bruise. Symptoms of the seizure include:

  • General unresponsiveness
  • Inability to speak
  • Involuntary movement of specific parts of the body

Brain injury survivors usually only experience these symptoms for up to a few minutes. There are some cases where the seizures continued until the patients were diagnosed with epilepsy.

Seizures are more commonly seen in children who have had traumatic brain injuries.

Eye Symptoms

The eyes are directly connected to the brain and are at a high risk of being affected by a traumatic brain injury. The vestibulo-ocular reflex connects and stabilizes visual processing during head movements and is commonly disrupted by head trauma.

Many survivors also experience blurry or double vision. More serious brain injuries have been linked to dry eye disease and ocular pain.

Chronic Pain

Moderate and severe traumatic brain injuries are also associated with chronic or ongoing pain in any location of the body. The head, neck, shoulders, and back are the most common sites of pain.

Veterans are at a higher risk of chronic pain than civilians, according to multiple studies. Depression and other emotional disorders increase the survivor’s risk of chronic pain.

Cognitive Impairment

About two-thirds of people who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries experience cognitive impairments that disrupt their daily mental well-being. These cognitive deficits include:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Slow or impaired decision making
  • Having a lack of motivation
  • Diminished attention span and awareness
  • Displaying poor judgment
  • Lapses in memory
  • Altered overall intelligence

These impairments also negatively impact the patient’s recovery process and treatment plans, and therefore, their return to normal function is impacted as well.

Disruption of Sleep

Severe traumatic brain injuries have been shown to disrupt normal sleep patterns in over half of patients. The risk of excessive sleep, or hypersomnia, is slightly higher than experiencing difficulty falling asleep, or insomnia.

Children who have suffered from head injuries are also at risk for disruptions to their sleep. They typically encounter drowsiness and impaired breathing while sleeping.

Emotional Disorders

Emotional distress is very common in all chronic illnesses, and life-altering injuries and traumatic brain injuries are no exception. Depression, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety are the most prevalent emotional disorders that accompany a serious head injury and impact about a third of all survivors.

Behavioral and personality changes are also commonly seen after brain damage. Paranoia and psychosis are less common but are often associated with brain injuries as well.

Contact the Heavy Hitters to Handle Your Case for Compensation

Traumatic brain injuries cause some of the most devastating injuries imaginable. Many people experience long-term symptoms and lose their ability to control their emotions and behaviors.

Victims and their families often feel overwhelmed, isolated, stressed, frustrated, and confused about what to do next to be able to continue with their lives. Personal injury attorneys help by ensuring victims receive full compensation for their injuries, so they can receive the treatment, medication, and care that they need.

By hiring Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters, you will have a lawyer who is fully invested in your case. They will ensure a full investigation into the accident that caused your injury, collecting evidence to prove negligence and building a strong case using medical evaluations, police reports, and witness statements.

The lawyers at Tatum & Atkinson are experienced and will help you determine an accurate assessment of the damages you have suffered.

Traumatic brain injuries affect every aspect of your life, including your finances. You should not have to worry about being able to afford your treatment, medications, special equipment, or other care that you need as a result of someone else’s negligent actions.

Our lawyers will make sure your compensation is enough to cover everything you need.

You should not have to fight for what you are legally entitled to receive, especially while you are in recovery. Tatum & Atkinson are aggressive and will not stop fighting on your behalf until you recover everything that is rightfully yours.

For a free consultation about your case, call (800) LAW-0804 today to get your process started.