No Loss of Consciousness Does Not Mean No TBI


No Loss of Consciousness

One of the most persisting misconception about traumatic brain injury is that a loss of consciousness (LOC) is necessary for the brain injury.  Researchers have discounted this theory for decades but over the last 20 years, any lingering doubt should have been put to rest. No loss of consciousness does not mean there isn’t a traumatic brain injury.

Sport and Military Head Injury Pushed Research on Traumatic Brain Injury

When this page was written in 1996, I cited a number of authoritative treatises for this fact, but since that time, all research has acknowledged that fact, including the Federal Government, thru both the CDC and Congressional hearings.  One of the benefits of the dramatic shift in attitude towards sport head injuries is that this focus has closed the debate as to whether a concussion requires a loss of consciousness.

Graphics to No Loss of Consciousness Historically, it was the ACRM’s definition of MTBI that has been cited the most for this propositions. For more on that definition, click here.  See also my discussion of this evolution at

The CDC also took a leadership role in eliminating the reliance on LOC for the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. For the CDC’s excellent materials on mild traumatic brain injury, click here.

The number of head injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed the Department of Defense and the VA to revise the governments definition of TBI as well. For the VA’s position on brain injury, click here.

Thus, if the issue of absence of LOC is still a question in the diagnosis or defense of a brain injury case, this is the result of ignorant or dishonest doctors.

For further assistance with this issue, email Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

NEXT: Reconstruction of LOC.