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 consciousnessInvolves no external force or action
Motor vehicle accidentsStroke/CVA (leading cause)
FallsLack of oxygen (hypoxia/anoxia)
Violence or gunshot woundsTumors
Military attack or bomb blastsBrain 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
HeadacheDifficulty forming sentences or choosing wordsPersonality changes
Balance problemsConfuisionDepression
Vision problemsTrouble communicating needsDifficulty with Mood
SeizuresDifficulty with reasoning and logicActing inappropriately 
Changes in sensory perceptionMemory impairment  
Trouble speakingPoor concentration 
Trouble swallowingLimited attention span 
Changes in sleepNot oriented tp person, place, time, or situation 
Lack of bladder and/or bowel controlDifficulty 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.