Fractured skull

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A fractured skull involves a break to one of the bones that form the head. These typically include the cranium which is situated at the rear part of the head, frontal bone or forehead and the parietal bones on the sides of the head.

It is important to note that fractures to the skull occur due to an abrupt impact to the head from either a sharp or blunt object. A fractured skull can occur during collisions particularly in contact sports such as rugby where fractures to the nose and cheek bones are common. It can also occur during vehicular accidents where the head strikes the dashboard or steering wheel.

An individual who was struck by a ball, racket or stick can also sustain a facial fracture or fractured skull. Take note that the severity of the injury usually depends on the type of fracture:

  • A simple fracture is described as a break in the bone that is not dislodged in any manner and there is no break in the skin.
  • A depressed fracture occurs once the bone is crushed and part of it is moved inwards towards the brain.
  • A compound fracture occurs once the bone breaks through the skin and eventually splinters.

The most serious injuries typically occur once part of the fractured skull comes in contact with the brain. This can lead to temporary or permanent disability and can be even fatal in severe cases.

Fractured skull
An individual who was struck by a ball, racket or stick can also sustain a facial fracture or fractured skull.

Symptoms of a fractured skull

  • Bleeding from the wound or from the ears, eyes or nose
  • Changes in the size of the pupils
  • Bruising behind the ears or beneath the eyes
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Straw-colored drainage from the ears or eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Visual disturbances
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness


Always bear in mind that there are measures to bear in mind if an individual is suspected with a fractured skull.

  • The individual should not be allowed to continue playing his/her sport or drive a vehicle
  • The individual must rest in a seated position with the head elevated above the heart
  • Do not provide any beverage, food or medication until medical care is sought
  • Do not leave the individual alone
  • Call for emergency assistance or seek medical attention as soon as possible

In cases where the individual is unconscious, it is vital to call for emergency assistance right away. Remember that the individual should not be moved in case of a possible spinal injury as well as prevent movement of any bone fragments. In addition, do not attempt to remove any bone fragments. You have to stay calm and simply observe the individual until the medical team arrives on the scene. By enrolling in a first aid course, you know the measures to perform until medical care can be provided by the emergency team.

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