Concussion = Brain Injury (revisited)

This post originally appeared in February of 2012, it is a good summation of the minutiae surrounding concussion.


For years we in the medical community have been struggling with the terms “concussion” and “traumatic brain injury”; is there a difference?  The simple answer is no.  As you have seen on the blog, we use the term interchangeably, however just like anything in life semantics make a difference.  The perception of a “concussion” is that of sports and “not really that big of a deal”, and that would be horribly wrong.

As Broken Brain — Brilliant Mind posts today this injury is to the brain and confusion about semantics need to be cleared in order to gain a firm grasp on the issue at hand;

I’ve been giving a fair amount of thought to concussions over the past couple of years. In the course of my tbi rehab, my neuropsych has referred to my mild tbi’s as “concussions” and oddly, I never really thought of them that way. I’m not sure why I didn’t make the connection. I guess I thought, like so many others, that concussions are not that big of a deal — just a bump on the head. Getting your bell rung. Getting dinged. Big deal, right? Then, when my neuropsych talked about all the concussions I’ve had, the light went on.

My mild traumatic brain injuries were concussions. Concussion sounds a lot less dramatic than TBI, but essentially, it’s the same thing (I won’t go into the distinctions that SUNY-Buffalo Concussion Clinic people make).

By the way if you have not been going to BB–BM you should, as his/her perspective on dealing with brain injury is a massive resource.  Needless to say, whether you use the term “concussion” or “brain injury” the results should be exactly the same.  The mechanism associated with what causes a concussion is the same as what causes head trauma.  When Googling for images of both “concussion” and “traumatic brain injury” it is interesting to note that the first true image (non chart) of both searches is relatively the same:

“traumatic brain injury”








Going forward the medical community and public should either; A. associate both terms as the same injury, or B. use nomenclature the same across the board, regardless of the “connotations” associated with them.  And BB could not make it more clear than with the last line of the post;

Because concussion is a brain injury. And our brains matter.

3 thoughts on “Concussion = Brain Injury (revisited)

  1. brokenbrilliant February 12, 2011 / 11:55

    Thanks for the mention – one of my readers indicated that concussion and TBI are different, in that TBI can result from concussion, but concussions can clear.

    I have heard different things about this. Personally, I lean towards the attitude that concussion is a brain injury, which may or may not have lasting consequences.

    Given what we’re learning about concussion and long-term effects of sub-concussive hits, I’m inclined to err on the side of caution. I may turn out to be wrong, or maybe I won’t.

    Eventually, we may all find out. Let’s hope we do.

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