Patients with acute intracranial hematomas often require surgical drainage within the first four hours after traumatic brain injury (TBI) to avoid death or severe neurologic disability. CT and MRI permit rapid, noninvasive diagnosis of hematomas, but can be used only at a major health-care facility. At present, there is no device for noninvasive detection and characterization of hematomas in pre-hospital settings. We proposed to use an optoacoustic technique for rapid, noninvasive diagnosis and monitoring of hematomas, including intracranial hematomas. Unlike bulky CT and MR equipment, an optoacoustic system can be small and easily transported in an emergency vehicle. In this study we used a specially-designed blast device to inflict TBI in rats. A near-infrared OPO-based optoacoustic system developed for hematoma diagnosis and for blood oxygenation monitoring in the superior sagittal sinus (SSS) in small animals was used in the study. Optoacoustic signals recorded simultaneously from the SSS and hematomas allowed for measurements of their oxygenations. The presence of hematomas was confirmed after the experiment in gross pictures of the exposed brains. After blast the hematoma signal and oxygenation increased, while SSS oxygenation decreased due to the blastinduced TBI. The increase of the oxygenation in fresh hematomas may be explained by the leakage of blood from arteries which have higher blood pressure compared to that of veins. These results indicate that the optoacoustic technique can be used for early diagnosis of hematomas and may provide important information for improving outcomes in patients with TBI or stroke (both hemorrhagic and ischemic).