Levels of Traumatic Brain Injuries As Determined by the Glasgow Coma Scale

It doesn’t matter whether you trip and hit your head, a heavy object strikes your skull, or an accident rattles your noggin. Any impact to the head is cause for concern as it could potentially cause a brain injury. There are varying degrees of brain injury severity and it is not always easy to immediately determine just how severe an injury is. One tool used by first responders and emergency room physicians is the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS is a simple, accurate assessment of consciousness in a person who has just suffered head trauma.

GCS Levels 

The GCS is basically a set of tests that places eye opening, verbal, and motor responses on a scale to determine the severity of a brain injury. The assessor assigns points based on the following list of possible reactions:

Eye Movement Verbal Ability Motor Function
Spontaneous (+4) Oriented (+5) Obey commands (+6)
React to Sound (+3) Confused (+4) Localized (+5)
React to Pressure (+2) Can form words (+3) Normal flexation (+4)
None (+1) Can create sound (+2) Abnormal flexation (+3)
  None (+1) Extension (+2)
    None (+1)

The combined score of all three tests determines the GCS number, which is then compared to three degrees of TBI severity as follows:

  • Mild TBI. GCS score of 13-15. These injuries are the most common and usually result in a brief (less than 30 minute) change in mental status. During this period you may become dazed, confused, or briefly lose consciousness. Imaging tests shouldn’t indicate any additional brain swelling or problems. However, repeated mild TBI offenses such as concussions or whiplash could have serious effects on your brain and cause fatal consequences over an extended period of time if not diagnosed and treated properly.
  • Moderate TBI. GCS score between 9 and 12. These injuries tend to result from violent shaking or a forceful blow to the head. They can cause you to lose consciousness for up to six hours and can potentially cause permanent cognitive or physical impairment.
  • Severe TBI. GCS score between 3 and 8. These generally occur when the brain itself has been critically damaged. Your risk of permanent cognitive and physical damage is extremely high when you suffer from a severe injury such as this.

Sharing Your Story to Help Others

Have you experienced a traumatic brain injury? Do you know someone who has suffered a mild, moderate or severe TBI? Please take the time to share your story and allow others to benefit from your experiences. You can help them learn more about what to expect as well as give them hope and reassurance.

You can also feel free to read our own client testimonials to reassure yourself that there is hope for your future. Come see how we’ve helped others like you get the treatment compensation they deserve for accidental brain trauma.

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