Breaking down the Glasgow Coma Scale

| Jan 25, 2021 | Firm News |

No one in Indiana wants to hear news that a family member or friend suffered a traumatic brain injury. The inclusion of the word “traumatic” in the description makes it seem that victims never recover. While that may be the case in some scenarios, many may experience some degree of recovery following such an injury. Still, some effects may linger (indeed, according to, nearly 2 million Americans live with a disability caused by a brain injury).

Those close to brain injury victims no doubt want to be there to offer whatever support they need. They likely want to know, however, what sort of long-term prognosis one faces (so they can thus plan accordingly). Yet is such information available in the immediate aftermath of an injury?

Predictions based on clinical indicators

It may indeed be, thanks to the Glasgow Coma Scale: a clinical observation test. Clinicians use this test to determine the extent of one’s TBI (which, by extension, offers an insight into one’s long-term prognosis). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the GCS test measures responses in the following areas:

  • Eye movement
  • Verbal responses
  • Motor skills

Caretakers observe a TBI victim’s reactions in these areas and assign point total in each category. They then sum the totals from each individual category to come up with an overall score.

The scale of potential TBIs

One hopes for a higher GCS score (as such a score indicates responses closer to the standard clinical baseline). A score of 13 or above indicates a mild TBI, while scores between nine and 12 indicate moderate brain injuries. A score of eight or below indicates a severe brain injury. This information may allow those concerned with the care of TBI victims to make informed decisions regarding their futures.