While all brain injuries are serious in nature, readers of our blog are likely aware that there are wide variances in the types, severities and resulting long-term implications of brain injuries. The vast majority of these differences relate to the cause of a brain injury and the area(s) of the brain that is readily affected and damaged.

In cases where a brain injury results from “the brain moving back and forth in the skull” due to acceleration or deceleration the resulting damage is categorized as being a diffuse axonal injury.

Accidents involving motor vehicles, sports and falls that impact the brain are likely to result in diffuse axonal injuries. This type of brain injury is among the most common and damaging with an estimated “90 percent of survivors” remaining unconscious and those who do regain consciousness, suffering severe damage and impairment.

When a diffuse axonal injury occurs the brain’s axons, which act as messengers within the brain, are impaired and, “as tissue slides over tissue, a shearing injury occurs.” Brain swelling, unconsciousness and the death of brain cells are all commonly experienced by victims of diffuse axonal injuries. Tests used to determine the type and severity of a brain injury include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CT scans. However, unless and until an individual regains consciousness, the true extent of brain damage and potential functioning remains unknown.

For individuals and families impacted by this type of devastating brain injury, life is never the same. In cases where a diffuse axonal injury resulted from the potentially negligent acts of another individual, it’s important to explore one’s legal options.

Source: Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, “Diffuse Axonal Injury,” Oct. 2, 2015