What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is a blow or jolt to the head resulting in the disruption of normal brain function and frequently associated with decreased level of consciousness, amnesia, neuropsychological abnormality, skull fracture, intracranial lesions or death.

What is Brain Injury?

A serious brain injury usually results in a loss of consciousness (coma), which may be brief—lasting only a few minutes—or may extend to days, weeks, or months. If the period of coma is short, return to full or nearly full function is likely; but as time in a coma lengthens, intellectual and speech impairment, behavioral disorders, and related physical disabilities can occur.

It is important to note that a person does not have to lose consciousness to have sustained a brain injury. Minor brain trauma, where there is little or no loss of consciousness and no resulting hospitalization, can also cause temporary or permanent damage to the brain.

The book: Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Guide helps explain what to expect. You can find it online at: tbiguide.com.

Why is brain injury: the silent epidemic?

Because of the magnitude of the problem, brain trauma has remained largely unknown by the American public. There are currently 5.3 million individuals—a little more than 2 percent of the U.S. population—living with a disability resulting from a traumatic brain injury. When considering an individual’s family and circle(s) of support, brain injury touches the lives of approximately one in every 10 persons in the United States.

Did You Know?

  • Of the 1.7 million U.S. civilians who sustain a TBI: 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized, and 1.4 million are treated/released from emergency rooms. The number of people with TBI who are not seen post-injury or receive no care is unknown (1).
  • Falls, motor vehicle accidents, and violence: leading causes of TBI among civilians. Blasts: leading cause among active duty military personnel; an estimate of up to 1/3 of patients evacuated from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom combat areas may have TBI (2).
  • The CDC has estimated that at least 3.2 million people currently have a long-term or lifelong need for help in performing certain activities of daily living as a result of having received a TBI (3).
  • Costs for TBI are staggering at over $60 billion per year in the U.S. alone.

Long Range Complications of Brain Injury

Any or all of the complications caused by the TBI may occur in varying degrees. Good pre-hospital care, appropriate trauma treatment, and intensive rehabilitation are needed to alleviate symptoms and prevent complications or secondary disabilities.


  • memory loss (short and long term)
  • problems in arousal, attention, and concentration
  • problems in initiating action, planning action, and follow up
  • problems in judgment
  • difficulty in recognizing own cognitive deficits/limits
  • difficulty with abstract thinking (needs simple, concrete direction)
  • difficulty in generalizing from a specific time, place, or idea
  • spatial disorientation (problems with perception, direction, etc.)
  • slowness of thought process
  • slowness and/or difficulty with speech


  • fatigability; maintaining attention and activity produces fatigue
  • visual impairment
  • hearing impairment
  • loss of taste
  • spasticity
  • hemiparesis
  • seizures


  • anxiety and depression
  • emotional-lability (swings in mood)
  • “denial”
  • inappropriate behaviors (impulsivity, disinhibition, lack of social judgment, and appreciation of subtleties)
  • egocentricity (focus on one’s self; loss of social perspective)
  • agitation/outbursts
  • sexual dysfunction
  • loss of social network/isolation

Rehabilitation Info

What is a Concussion?

Concussions are the type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow or jolt to the head. An injury from a concussion can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way our brains normally work.

Did You Know?

  • You don’t have to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion.
  • Concussions are more prevalent than most people think and often times difficult to diagnose, as they typically do not appear in neuro-imaging such as CT or MRI scans.
  • About one-and-a-half million people in the US suffer a concussion each year. The Centers for Disease Control estimates more that 20% of these injuries, or about 300,000, are sports related.
  • With each incidence, a person may be more susceptible to a more significant brain injury from even mild future hits or blows to the head.

BIAOR Provides to Survivors & Members:

  • Printed information available free of charge to help cope with TBI
  • Library (videos & books) to help families and survivors
  • Website packed full of information!
  • Support workshops state-wide – MEMBERS  20% OFF!
  • Brain Injury Educational Conference – MEMBERS 20% OFF!
  • Brain Injury Legal & Medical Conference – MEMBERS 20% OFF!
  • The Headliner Newsletter: keeping you informed, less isolated & help coping with TBI – Free with MEMBERSHIP
  • Identification cards to help explain TBI to others if you need it
  • Local support groups and how to find them
  • Assistance for resources you need
  • Helpline to call for encouragement and information (800-544-5243)
  • Become a Member

Trainings BIAOR provides to organizations:

  • CBIS Training (Certified Brain Injury Specialist)-International Certification/Brain Injury Fundamentals Certification

  • What Medical Professionals Should Know About Brain Injuries — But Most Don’t

  •  Challenging Behaviors

  •  TBI & PTSD in the Returning Military

  • Vocational Rehabilitation-working with clients

  • Methamphetamine and Brain Injury

  • ADA Awareness—Cross Disability Training

  • Judicial and Police: Working with People with Brain Injury

  • Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Educators

  • Native People and Brain Injury

  • Brain Injury 101

  • What the Family Needs to Know After a Brain Injury

  • Anger Management and TBI

  • Aging and TBI

  • How Brain Injury Affects Families

  • Brain Injury for Medical and Legal Professionals

  • What you need to know

  • Caregiver Training

  • Domestic Violence and TBI

  • Dealing with Behavioral Issues

  • Returning to Work After Brain Injury

    And more!


  1. Center for Disease Control, cdc.gov/TraumaticBrainInjury/index.html. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  2. Kennedy JE, Jaffee MS, Leskin GA, Stokes JW, Leal FO, Fitzpatrick PJ (2007). Posttraumatic stress disorder-like symptoms and mild traumatic brain injury. Journal of Rehabilitation & Development, 44:895-920.
  3. Selassie AW, Zaloshnja E, Langlois JA, Miller T, Jones P, Steiner C (2008). Incidence of long-term disability following traumatic brain injury hospitalization, United States, 2003. Journal of Head Trauma and Rehabilitation, 23: 123-31.
  4. HRSA Professional Shortage Areas, hrsa.gov/shortage. Retrieved June 9, 2008.