Contact your healthcare provider or local health department if you are at risk for coronavirus (COVID-19). To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, please avoid the emergency department except in the event of an emergency. | Learn More
View All Services
Find a New Primary Care Provider
Search by Specialty
View All Locations
Discover classes, events, tours, and groups that fit your interests.
Home > Be Healthy > Health Library > Serious head injury
A serious head injury occurs when the brain hits against the inside of the skull with enough force to cause brain damage. A serious head injury may result from a hard blow to the head, from severe jarring or shaking of the head, or when an object pierces the head.
With this type of injury, the brain tissue may bruise, swell, or tear. Nerves or blood vessels within or around the brain may stretch, pull apart, or tear.
Serious injury to the brain may occur even when there is no visible bleeding or injury on the outside of the skull.
Symptoms of a serious head injury may include:
A person with a serious head injury should visit a doctor immediately.
It can be hard right after a head injury to tell the difference between a mild concussion and a more serious injury. A brain bruise (contusion) or bleeding within the skull at first may cause only mild symptoms. If a person with a head injury is seen by a doctor, he or she should still be closely watched for any changes in behavior or symptoms for the next 24 hours or longer.
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.