High-energy head injuries

High-energy injuries to the head occur when the head hits against another object with great force or pressure. This type of injury puts a person at increased risk for a brain injury, even when there is no visible external bleeding or other obvious sign of injury.

High-energy injuries to the head can occur in a variety of ways, including:

  • Falls in which the head strikes an object with significant force. A fall from a height of 4 ft (1.22 m) may be enough to cause an injury.
  • Motor vehicle accidents in which the head strikes and cracks or breaks the windshield or dents the inside of the vehicle.
  • Sports injuries, such as striking the head after falling from a fast-moving bicycle.
  • Direct blows to the head with a hard object, such as a fist or a baseball bat swung with significant force.

Injuries to the neck or face are more likely to occur with a high-energy head injury.

Last Updated: July 9, 2008

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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