The term “traumatic brain injury” can immediately prompt concern and even panic amongst those who hear it in conjunction with an accident involving their loved ones. TBIs can leave one dependent on extensive around-the-clock care for the rest of their lives. Yet there is such a thing as a moderate or even a mild TBI (for example, a concussion is considered a TBI). Indeed, such injuries are quite common, with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons reporting that 1.7 million occur every year.

What the family members and friends of those who suffer a TBI want to know is what will their loved ones’ long-term prognoses be. While an exact answer to that may be impossible to give in the immediate aftermath of the injury, clinicians can offer a reasonable indication thanks to the Glasgow Coma Scale. This is a clinical observation test that measures the following response types of TBI victims:

  • Motor skills
  • Eye opening
  • Verbal skills

Each of these three areas offers an indication of how extensive the damage a TBI caused may be. A score is recorded for each response category, and then those point totals are added together to come up with a final score.

According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a GCS score above 13 indicates a mild brain injury, from which a complete recovery is certainly possible (if not likely). Scores between nine and 12 indicate moderate brain injuries that may leave victims suffering mild short- or long-term effects. A score below eight is indicative of a severe brain injury that could reasonably leave a victim with physical or cognitive deficits, or even completely dependent on the care of others.