What is traumatic brain injury? Traumatic brain injury is a serious condition in which the brain is damaged by a sudden injury. There are many causes of traumatic brain injuries, including traffic or sport accidents, falls, or assault. Traumatic brain injuries can occur with or without fracture of the skull. Skull fractures include open and closed fractures. Open fractures occur when the skin has been breached and the skull is broken. In closed brain fractures, the skin is not broken but the underlying skull is broken. The brain may be pierced by an object, which may be embedded in or pass through the skull. In some cases of traumatic brain injury there may be no outer signs of damage, even though the brain itself may be bruised, swollen or bleeding. All types of traumatic brain injuries may be life threatening and cause permanent damage. Treatment will vary substantially depending on the severity and cause of the traumatic brain injury. Surgery may be required to stabilize the injury. Head trauma should always be considered an emergency. Fortunately, you can help to avoid many traumatic brain injuries by proper use of safety equipment, such as a helmets and seatbelts, for your family and yourself. Traumatic brain injuries may be life threatening. It is important to monitor for severe or changing symptoms. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have a head injury and are experiencing serious symptoms such changes in consciousness, vomiting, severe headache, abnormal behavior, and dilated or unresponsive pupils. Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for traumatic brain injury but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.