Differences Between a Concussion and a Traumatic Brain Injury

When listening to conversations about serious head injuries in sports and media, you might hear the phrases “concussion” and “traumatic brain injury” used interchangeably. However, the two types of injury convey very different meanings to those who understand them.


Concussions are fairly common amongst athletes and people who enjoy active hobbies. They occur when a person experiences a minor traumatic brain injury. In most cases, they can be extremely difficult to diagnose due to the kinds of symptoms that usually appear.

Traumatic brain injuries, on the other hand, are more life-altering. They occur when an outside force damages the brain in a severe manner, causing permanent changes.

There are two kinds of TBI: open and closed. Open refers to situations in which the skull was penetrated in some way, as in the case of a gunshot to the head. Closed TBIs occur much like concussions. The skull remains intact, but the brain is still affected by the energy that passes through the skull and surrounding tissue.

When a person gets a concussion, they already have a mild traumatic brain injury, but their lives are usually not in danger. However, in some cases, a concussion can lead to moderate or severe traumatic brain injury that can have long-lasting impacts on the patient. Only a doctor can diagnose a brain injury as a concussion, or something more serious. That’s why it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as a brain injury occurs.
If you or someone you know is dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, regardless of its severity, you need a support system. Look to TryMunity’s online community for advice, connections, and news. Visit www.trymunity.com to find the tools you need to deal with a TBI.