Introduction to Brain Injury

More than five million people in the United States live with the lingering effects of brain injury. About 1.7 million people sustain new brain injuries each year.

Brain injury, also called acquired brain injury, is any damage to the brain affecting a person physically, emotionally or behaviorally. Brain injuries can happen at birth, or later, from an illness or a trauma, and are called either traumatic or non-traumatic, depending on the specific cause.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Nontraumatic Brain Injury (NTBI)
Do not always include an open head wound, skull fracture, or a loss of consciousness Involves no external force or action
Motor vehicle accidents Stroke/CVA (leading cause)
Falls Lack of oxygen (hypoxia/anoxia)
Violence or gunshot wounds Tumors
Military attack or bomb blasts Brain infection or inflammation
Other illness such as cancer

Level of Severity used to Describe both TBI and NTBI:

    • Mild, moderate or severe
    • Level is primarily determined by the length of loss of consciousness, as well as length of post-traumatic amnesia (state of confusion)
    • Does not describe the expected outcomes in the patient's life
Headache Difficulty forming sentences or choosing words Personality changes
Balance problems Confuision Depression
Vision problems Trouble communicating needs Difficulty with Mood
Seizures Difficulty with reasoning and logic Acting inappropriately 
Changes in sensory perception Memory impairment 
Trouble speaking Poor concentration
Trouble swallowing Limited attention span
Changes in sleep Not oriented tp person, place, time, or situation
Lack of bladder and/or bowel control Difficulty with perceptual skills
Changes in sexual function
Trouble moving the body

To adapt to these changes, it will help you and your loved one if you understand what to expect, find ways to work through challenges, and use supportive resources included on this website. 

Revised 2017