Picture of a bruised brain with bandages attached to represent an injury.

What is Brain Injury? 

Your brain is a very complex organ that contains billions of cells that make trillions of connections.  Your brain relies on these connections to form networks that are wired in a specific way for each of the things you do like breathing, hearing, thinking, and feeling. Brain injury results when these networks and connections are disrupted or damaged.   

Brain injury in the context of domestic violence can occur due to traumatic brain injury (TBI) when abusers hit your face or head, shake you, or making your head hit the floor or wall. It can also occur due to a loss of oxygen when an abuser chokes or strangles you. More details on each are below. 

Brain injury from concussion

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when the head or face receives a bump, blow or jolt.  It occurs when an object hits the head or face or the head hits an object.  This causes the brain to shake around in the skull which causes physical damage and disrupts the connections which can disrupt how the brain functions.  It is also commonly referred to as a concussion.  More severe brain injury can also occur following a penetrating brain injury like a gunshot wound.

illustration of brain and blood vessels of the head.

Brain injury can also be caused by choking (also referred to as strangulation) due to hypoxic-ischemic brain injury.  This happens due to a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain caused by being choked or strangled. Blood flow is necessary to bring oxygen and other nutrients to the brain to allow it to function.   

More information about traumatic brain injury can be found at the Brain Injury Association of America and about strangulation at  the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention 

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