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What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2022 | Personal Injury

Should one in Austin receive news that a family member or close friend suffered a catastrophic accident yet survived, such news is typically welcome. Yet the relief at their survival is often offset by the fact that they sustained a serious injury (such as a traumatic brain injury).

Most assume that one can eventually overcome any injury. That is often not the case, however, with a TBI. Brain tissue does not heal or regenerate once damaged, meaning that the effects of a brain injury often linger. Most people understandably want to know to what extent their loved one might recover from a TBI. Yet can one know that in the immediate aftermath of the injury?

Determining the initial extent of a TBI

While clinicians cannot know for certain the full extent of a TBI right after one sustains it, a clinical observation test exists that at least offers an initial indication. According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, caretakers call this test “the Glasgow Coma Scale” and it measures one’s responses in the following areas:

  • Motor skills
  • Verbal responses
  • Eye movement

Clinicians assign a score to each response category. Responses closer to the standard baseline receive higher scores; little response from a TBI victim receives low scores. The point values in each category are then summed to determine an overall score.

Interpreting a GCS score

One’s overall GCS score defines the observed extent of the injury. Scores above 13 indicate a mild brain injury, while scores between 9 and twelve indicate a moderate brain injury. A score of eight or below indicates a severe brain injury, which may require the one who sustains it to receive lifelong care. Yet victims of mild or moderate brain injuries may not be totally out of the woods, either; these injuries can still produce lingering effects.