- Respiratory issues
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cerebrospinal fluid leaking from nose or ears
- Speech and language problems
- Vision issues
- Emotional and behavioral changes
Further internet research indicates that if the victim DOES lose consciousness for more than a few minutes, serious brain damage is very likely.
This, of course, is a problem for fiction writers like me. Sometimes, you need a character to be out cold for a few hours, and a quick smack to the noggin seems like such a convenient way to do it.
As a result, many authors and filmmakers focus on the "unconsciousness" part, while ignoring all the other possible factors. Brain damage, vomiting, and respiratory issues almost never happen, and sometimes, even bruising is blithely ignored. For that matter, even the fact that unconsciousness is not likely to last long WITHOUT major side effects tends to go out the window.
And guess what? It gets worse! A certain level of departure from reality is usually accepted in fiction, but it has to be consistent within the same universe. Which, in the case of head damage, it usually isn't.
If two characters are fighting each other, they can pound on each other for ten on-screen minutes straight and barely slow down. But if one character needs to knock another out, and hits them on the head while they're off-guard? *finger snap* They're down.
This tendency bugs me enough that, for one of my larger and more violent writing projects, I actually keep a file in which I log all of my characters' personalities, their backstories, and yes, their physical injuries.
I make notes of how much this damage should realistically slow them down, and write their subsequent scenes accordingly.
And for the love of realism, I don't use blunt cranial trauma to knock people out. Not unless I want them to have brain damage. Which, in one case, the victim actually will.
Does this kind of thing bug you, too? Did you know about it before I wrote this post?
I look forward to reading your comments.