Head injuries are a common result of car accidents, especially when vehicles travel at high rates of speed. If you’ve suffered from a head injury you will likely be assessed using Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which gauges a person level of consciousness after a blow to the head. Brainline.org explains how the scale works and how you can understand the scoring process.

The GCS looks at many different bodily functions when making an assessment. For instance, a patient’s verbal response to stimuli, motor responses, and eye function are all evaluated during the test and added up to provide an understanding of a person’s level of consciousness. Doctors will rate bodily functions using a numbering system, which leads up to the final score.

Each number in the system corresponds to a different status. In terms of eye opening ability, a 4 indicates eyes were spontaneously opened, while a 3 or 2 denotes that eyes were opened because of sound or applied pressure respectively. When it comes to verbal responses, 5 means oriented, 4 means confused, 3 means words are formed but are not coherent, and 2 means there are sounds but no words. Motor response testing using a similar gauge, with 6 showing an ability to obey a command and 1 means there is no response to commands given.

Once the numbers have all been added up, the patient will then receive his or her GCS. Scores range from severe to moderate. Scores of 8 or less are classed as severe, 9 through 12 is considered moderate, and 13 to 15 is mild. In the event a brain injury is moderate or severe, a person could be afflicted with long-term or even permanent impairment. These impairments may be physical, mental, or even cognitive, which inhibits a person’s ability to think clearly.