In honor of brain injury awareness month – what to look for when you hit your head

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If you’ve had a fall, a car accident, or been involved in any other event where you hit your head or could have, it’s important for you to know the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Some symptoms are present right away, but others can develop over days. Following is a list of common symptoms of a mild TBI, also known as a concussion.

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Visual changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Changes in hearing
  • Problems with attention
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with memory
  • Slowed processing speed
  • Difficulty with learning
  • Trouble with organization
  • Easily distracted
  • Difficulty with transitions
  • Problems with language
  • Irritability
  • Frustration
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Impulsivity
  • Impaired judgment

Seeking Medical Care

If you have any of the above symptoms, we recommend you get checked out; either by your primary doctor or by one of our brain injury specialists. If your symptoms last longer than 7 to 10 days, or if you are having trouble returning to work or school, then you should definitely see one of our specialists.

Red Flags

If you’ve had a more serious injury or have any of the following symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention or call 911.

  • Sudden severe headache / worst headache of your life
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Seizure or convulsions
  • Sudden change in vision
  • One or both pupils of the eye get larger
  • Slurred speech or inability to speak
  • Inability to move one side of the body
  • Sleepiness to the point of being unable to wake (change in mental status)
  • Severe confusion, restlessness, or agitation
  • Any loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty walking or incoordination
  • Trouble breathing

Seeing a Specialist at Hennepin Healthcare

At Hennepin Healthcare we know TBI. We know it because we treat it every day. From mild to severe, day in and day out we admit more patients with a TBI than any other hospital in the state.

  • Emergency care: call 911 or come directly to our Emergency Department
  • Primary care or the Pediatric Clinic: Call 612-873-6963 to schedule
  • To see a brain injury specialist: Call 612-873-6663 to schedule an appointment in our TBI Outpatient Program (ages 13 through adult) or the Pediatric Brain Injury Program (for ages 12 and younger).


Kary Lehman Briner, MS, LICSW is the Traumatic Brain Injury Center Coordinator at Hennepin Healthcare.

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