Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2021 | Personal Injury

Immediately upon hearing the news of a traumatic brain injury suffered by a family member or friend in Massachusetts, you likely start making plans. You no doubt want to remain available to help them through their ordeal in any way that you can. Making such plans, however, encounters difficulty when you do not know what to expect.

Many in your same position come to us here at the Ellis Law Offices, LLP wondering if there might be a way to know the long-term prognosis of one who suffers a TBI in the immediate aftermath of their injury. Such a method exists known as the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Long-term predictions based on clinical observations

The GCS is a clinical observation test applied when clinicians receive a TBI victim for care. They look for the following actions in your loved one:

  • Their eye-movement
  • Their ability to respond verbally to questions and commands
  • Their motor skills

Responses at or near the expected clinical baseline indicate a less severe TBI. Clinicians then record their responses and assign them point values. They then add those points up to come up with an overall score.

What do the scores mean?

According to information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a GCS score of 13 or above indicates a mild TBI (such as a concussion). Scores between nine and 12 indicate moderate TBIs, and a score of eight or below indicates a severe injury.

It may go without saying that the recovery period is more extensive for a severe TBI (if your loved one recovers at all). Having this information right after their injury helps you in making informed decisions about their future care.

You can find more information about managing the injury recovery process throughout our site.


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