Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

Michael Paul Mason, Brain Injury Case Manager
TBI Basics

Overview

Doctors say that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a catastrophic condition, like burns, amputations, and spinal cord injuries. But TBI is different. It upsets life on multiple levels: physical, psychological, social, and even spiritual. TBI affects the roots of who we are — our ability to think, to communicate, and to connect with other people. For approximately 85 percent of people with TBI, those problems eventually resolve, but the remaining 15 percent have lasting difficulties. If you’re dealing with lingering symptoms of a TBI, or if you’re caring for a loved one, it can help to understand more about the wide range of challenges that TBI can pose.

A tap on the head, and anything can go wrong. Anything usually does go wrong. Light taps — mild TBI — can result in daily headaches, agitated moods, or periods of sleeplessness. Stronger jolts may cause you to forget your name, or make you think you’re someone different. When you tell someone you’re sad, you may unintentionally yell. A TBI can introduce a frustrating amount of confusion and uncertainty into your life

TBI by the Numbers

TBI has a way of affecting everything and everyone in your life. It can make family life tough, and it can seriously impede your ability to work. It can affect the relationships you have and make it harder to make new friends. In the United States, TBI is a quiet crisis. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with a permanent disability resulting from a brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 2.8 million Americans report a traumatic brain injury each year. Fifty-six thousand people die from it. Over a two hundred eighty-two thousand people are hospitalized. Some of them go home only to discover they no longer have a sense of smell or taste, or that their sleeping habits have changed, or that they can’t seem to do their job anymore. 

If you look at the numbers a little differently, they’re even more upsetting. So many Americans become disabled from a brain injury that each decade they could fill a city the size of Detroit. Seven of these cities are filled already. A third of their citizens are under fourteen years of age. Currently, there are at least 125,000 people with a brain injury so severe that it requires extended hospital care — a service difficult to find and even harder to access. Fortunately, the majority of people who experience TBI will be able to return to a productive life once they receive appropriate treatment

A Closer Look at the Brain

Even though the numbers are large, it’s important to remember that TBI is a human injury. It has a way of showing us that life is fragile and precious. Because the brain is a complicated network of cells, each injury is as distinctive as the person it affects. Our skulls are only a quarter inch thick, although male skulls are a little thicker, which is lucky considering the fact that men tend to get TBI more often than women. The skull is both protective and restricting; it is the brain’s best defense but also its greatest risk in times of trauma.

Surrounding the brain is an almost rubbery, clear layer of tissue called the dura mater. It helps protect the brain from moving around too much. Beneath the dura mater is another layer called the arachnoid layer, which looks and feels like wet cotton candy. The dura mater, the arachnoid layer, and another layer — the pia mater — all form what is known as the meninges, which keeps the brain floating inside the skull. If these layers get infected, ripped, or torn, it can cause serious damage to the brain

Types of TBI

Every brain injury is different, but there are two basic types: open head injuries and closed head injuries. Open head TBIs are a frightening mess. Whether the injury comes from a bullet, a baseball bat, or a high-speed collision, the result is always chaotic and distressing. The scalp bleeds a lot when it is cut, and when the skull is cracked or penetrated, pieces of it can get lodged in the brain. Because the brain is such a complicated tangle of tissue, it’s extremely tricky to remove objects lodged inside a brain. That’s why we put brain surgery right up there with rocket science in our everyday language.

In a closed head injury, nothing penetrates your skull, but a closed head injury can be just as complicated and vicious as an open head injury, sometimes more so. During a closed head injury, the brain may slam against one portion of the skull, then bounce against the opposite side of the wall. Doctors call that a “coup-contracoup” injury, where two injuries occur from a single blow. One of the most common types of closed head injury is a concussion — a strong blow from an external force. If a person’s head is whipped around, a small tearing effect called shearing occurs throughout the brain, resulting in a diffuse axonal injury. Axons are the hairlike extensions of nerve cells that transmit messages, so in a diffuse axonal injury, the messages either get mixed up, or they don’t come through at all

Treating and Living With TBI

An injured brain also has a tendency to swell, so if there is no room in the skull to expand, the swollen brain may start pushing against the eye sockets. The optic nerve eventually gets pinched, and eyesight is affected. A surgeon might drill holes into a skull to test cranial pressure. If the swelling is too extreme, the only option is to create an escape hatch by sawing away a portion of the skull.

The neurosurgeon is in charge of protecting the brain through medical procedures, but the survivor has to manage life with the effects of the TBI. Everyone reacts differently, depending in part on the severity of the injury, the quality of their care, and the strength of the social network around them. Many survivors feel pulled in different directions, feeling at times that the injury has made them less than what they were, and at other times that they can integrate TBI into their lives in a positive way. People with TBI are forced to confront a whole series of personal questions: How does my injury really affect me? Can I regain the things I’ve lost? What am I other than my brain? How can I make the most of my life?

Looking Ahead

Our understanding of TBI is changing in front of our eyes. As organizations such as the Brain Trauma Foundation continue to define the best practices in treating brain injury, medical care is slowly improving — at least for those patients able to gain access to early trauma care. The war in Iraq has already changed the way we treat TBI in America. Military surgeons who learned life-saving techniques like early cranioplasty are able to employ similar protocols in American trauma centers 

In the years to come, we may increasingly see brain trauma as a chronic but manageable condition similar to diabetes or cardio-pulmonary disease. That perspective might also help in reducing the negative stereotypes of TBI. For now, though, TBI survivors and those who care for them continue to face serious challenges in finding help and finding acceptance.

TBI is a much more manageable injury today than it has been in the past, but it remains a major health problem. As people with TBI continue to live longer and face the challenges of aging with TBI, it will be our duty to provide better education and long-term programs and services. We all have brains; let’s continue to use them — injured or not — to support TBI prevention, research, and treatment.

Posted on BrainLine February 13, 2018. Reviewed March 27, 2019.

About the Author

Michael Paul Mason is the founding editor of This Land, a monthly magazine based in Tulsa. Mason's first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by people with brain injury. Mason's first book, Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath, is an exploration into the harsh realities endured by brain injury survivors. While currently a brain injury projects manager at the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital, Mason continues to advocate on behalf of Americans with brain injury and is involved with several national legislative initiatives. Learn more about Michael Paul Mason >

Comments (325)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

I’m a 36 year old woman now, but at age 12 in 1995 I was in a bad car accident and I was air lifted with open TBI. IT BBROKE MY SKULL PIRCED MY BRAIN I LEAKED FLUID AND HAD SEIZURES. I WAS NEVER FOLLOWED UP WITH, never given any of this information. I have struggled my whole life now I did get married, had kids and worked up till I was diagnosed with cancer. I started 5-6 years maybe even 10 really having problems. I do have a plate in my head, I started having seizures again I also was told a few years ago my whole left frontal lobe Is dead scare tissue now. I am going through a divorce after 17 years my whole family kids all just have nothing to do with me. I have found it hard to be a normal person I have done things I would never during in adulthood and I really don’t use it as an excuse but if there was more awareness about TBI AND OPEN TBIS, maybe my teenage daughters would understand and not hate me. I will tell you reading how they affect you can late in life I have almost all the problems they list and most unnoticeable till adult hood it changed me the day it happened. I would love to see if there is a study I could do to help understand how they effect ppl later in life. I want to start raising awareness for the ppl who are not athletes and who have now Wound up alone and If it gets worse I will be bad off. I know that it is something that has been tearing my life apart from day one.

Great article - well written, informative.

Personal frustration in that people with ABI or "Acquired Brain Injury," are separated and generally not even mentioned in articles about Brain Injury --- a bias that justifies stereotyping by many healthcare and medical social workers, who imagine that all ABIs where a person didn't suffer a stroke, are people who somehow "brought their injuries on themselves."

While ABI may include those with brain injuries from drugs, alcohol, & suicide attempts, it also includes those with toxic exposures they didn't "ask for" (By the way, those that caused their own injuries probably need more care & compassion, not less, just sayin'.) Also, note that TBIs may include the same categories of people who just happened to conk their heads in the process.

ABIs from toxic exposures include not only rescued coal miners and workers in all kinds of industries but also a massive under-reported category of folks who survived chronic poisonings (sometimes undetected for years) in their own homes.

The most devastating thing about ABIs is that so many people may be affected without knowing why their lives have turned upside-down -- and bear the increased likelihood that they will also suffer TBIs because of slowed processing & reaction times & a whole host of other contributing factors.

Carbon Monoxide is just the tip of the iceberg -- and your college-bound or recent graduate kid's off campus rental housing that has improperly installed heating sources is likely to also have improperly tended plumbing or water leak problems that could foster the growth of neuro-toxic black molds. If there is mold, there may be sewer issues that bring about high levels of Carbon Dioxide and Methane.

Often, there is not enough of any one toxin to raise alarm bells, but the environmental "cocktail" may be enough to send an otherwise brilliant but vulnerable mind into a tailspin.

Many sufferers of chronic poisonings blame themselves, and, as they start losing control, they push away all the people who might help. They certainly don't want to tell their docs they think they're losing their minds, but eventually, that's what it most often gets diagnosed as.

Once diagnosed as a mental condition, a person may go on deteriorating with nobody bothering to check their environment. If they die? It's blamed on whatever line of thinking doctors were chasing at the time -- or on the victim her/himself as many will turn to substance abuse to cope with the depression that toxins bring on.

I understand that ABI can affect the brain differently -- decimating small patches all over in the same ways that Alzheimer's does, rather than localized "donuts" of dead tissue surrounded by dormant tissue that may eventually regenerate. However, both because ABI survivors and TBI survivors suffer similar issues, ABIs should be included in articles more appropriately generally described as "Brain Injury." This would at least open the door to greater awareness.

my son has 2 twenty two bullets in brain and is being held in santa rosa county jail and being abused mentally as well as physically, he was in on a misdemeanor now felony because he got scared and kicked a guard, he is wheelchair , cant walk, deaf in right ear, and i am sure confused as hell that no one cares for him. I need help, this is mom joanne we live in navarre florida

In 2015 I hit a tractor on my way to school for the sun was shining to bright. I was life flighted to the hospital 30 minutes away from the hospital in my home town. They put me in a coma for my brain bleed was on the outside of my brain (frontal lobe). I was in the hospital for 3 months. I was cleared to work and do all that I normally would. Sometimes I wonder if I should have my brain activity checked sometimes because I was diagnosed with severe major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, a bipolar disorder, and a mood disorder. Any recommendations?

hi I think am having an episode I got hit by guys am not okay forgot were am going and feeling like drunk but dizzy no alcohol mind t spellin also bipolar not feeling of sound mind.32 South Africa help

I am a survivor of a head on collision that almost killed me at 3yrs old, it damaged my frontal lobe , I had nightmares galore and hallucinations and couldn't distinguish between what was real and what wasn't and today I still struggle with my cognitive disorder, mood disorder, mathematics disorder, depression and anxiety that I take meds for for the rest of my life, am on SSD and SSI after several attempts to hold down a job, then a abusive step dad that played right into that but key word here is survivor eith mental issues

I’m not sure if I should post on this site or not. I’ve just started reaching out for resources in order to find anyone who can point me in the right direction to help me get the help I need, to help my daughter was is 38 now, and I care for 24/7 by myself. As I’m a single parent, without any family support except my inky other child, my son, who is 4.5 yrs. younger than his sister. If it wasn’t for my son we would be living on the streets.

First, the disclaimer is irrelevant as my adult daughter isn’t receiving any medical care, therapy, durable medical equipment, needed supplies, nutrition, etc since we’ve moved to Florida.
She acquired a severe DAI and short term memory loss and many secondary injuries related and non-related to the car wreck at the age of 33, and during her baby making years. She was a passenger in a fatal car wreck. Of course, the driver who caused the wreck had no insurance or assets
I can assure you no one is financially prepared for this type of injury should it occur.
At the time of wreck, I was trying to find my own legs, after divorcing my ex husband after a little over 33 years of marriage.

I wish I could say he cheated on me, as that would be so much easier to explain why our divorce happened and is the reason I divorced him. As it’s so very relevant to what happened to the oldest of our 2 children, and solidifies I did the right thing when divorcing him.

He’s extremely intelligent but lost his job making over 6 figures at the age of 47 when there was a corporate takeover. He was devastated, i I understood that, but 47 yrs old isn’t over the hill. However, I was very sympathetic and actually now know I was his enabler.

Without me knowing after the first job interview he went on and didn’t get the position, he began to research and manufactured syndromes that only behaviors and verbiage can confirm. You can’t determine by a X-rays, CT, MRI, blood test (believe me I’ve learned a lot and not just from his losing his job, but what he was actually capable of doing and something he would have discouraged and been an advocate against anyone attempting what he was very successful at doing and enjoyed the challenge-it was sickening). People say “Do you really know who you are living with or who your souse is?” I could prior to this happening, answer those questions with an honest “yes” we didn’t hide anything, we shared everything, at least I thought so.

Please keep in mind, this man never took a Tylenol except for a few times in college.

All of a sudden he has PTSD from being in the Air Force after he voluntarily deciding to get out 15 years earlier. He put on a show and when he was only awarded 30% VA disability, he had made his mind up he was going to receive a rating of 100% prior to decision to find anything to acquire a financial gain and life time medical care, which he would have received had he retired from USAF. He couldn’t believe the 30% and back to the drawing board. I left him by this time, as I wasn’t having any part of his deception. Now he all of a sudden has become bi-polar. Not once has he ever displayed any of the symptoms of these 2 real issues that people do experience and have. He had the audacity to ask me to sign a unbelievable statement to attest to the things he said he has been thinking, doing, unable to work, have a relationship with our immediate and other family members, friends, etc. I obviously didn’t sign it, but he talked our daughter who at the time had 3 children and having issues with her ex to sign this with the promise of helping her (probably financially). I don’t know the entire truth about this, as she was a “daddy’s girl.” But she wore her heart on her sleeve! However, she signed it. But it didn’t stop there. He went through multi interviews and psychological testing, even had himself committed to a psychiatric facility to ensure he would get the additional 70% VA disability, which would also allow him to automatically receive the full amount of SSDI (additional tax free income). I personally went to his main psychiatrist at Kaiser (in GA) office one day, which was prior to me moving out. This was his 3rd week of actually seeing a doctor who would get the ball rolling and after the months of the research about PTSD. I asked him every single evening and morning if he wanted me to go with him, as I didn’t know a thing about PTSD, and was worried because he was taking these crazy meds that left him sleeping all the time until he needed to attend these daily group sessions. He was adamant no one else was allowed to attend these meetings because of privacy. It made since to me at the time. One day, I decided to go and meet him for lunch and just talk to him vs him coming home and taking meds that literally left him comatose. I arrived earlier than I thought I would. I went inside and asked where his doctor his doctor was located and was told he was in a session for approx. 30 mins. But I was welcome to wait in the waiting area in his office. Approximately 5-10 mins later a woman who I now know to be a psychiatrist as well, approached me and asked if she could help me? I let her know the above and introduced myself by giving her my first name. She asked he who my husband was and I let her know his first name only, she asked me if my last name was ———? I said yes, and let her know I just wanted to surprise him, and since we weren’t allowed to come, to ensure he knew he had moral support at home, as he isn’t the same person I married a bazillion years ago, and to find out why this all of a sudden started happening to him. She reiterated my name, and didn’t blink a eye and said, “I smell fish.” I asked what she meant by saying that, and she very politely asked me if could stay after the group was released I answered her with, “Of course!” She thanked me and made the comment she was glad she needed to take a restroom break and said it was a pleasure to meet me, but she needed to get back into the group, and thanked me again for staying. I didn’t think another thing about the conversation except way she had said, “She smelt fish???”
She asked who to know why he was doing this, and if he realized what it was doing to our family. to meet him for lunch after his daily group meetings. This is when I found out he was spinning some serious stories while attempting to get the disability. The woman who approached me in the waiting area, and who was also a psychiatrist. She just happened to be sitting in with my ex’s particular psychiatrist with these daily group meetings for personal research. Anyway, she asked if she could help me? I let her know who I was and I didn’t mean to get there as early as I did and decided to come in, so I could met my husband for lunch. She asked me to group to let him know what my still husband was doing & hoped he knew what to look for in individuals manufacturing anything to intentionally

Hi,
I’m the person who posted this, and I’m not sure how this happened by it being posted. I was trying to get my ducks in a row to explain the significance of what transpired prior to our daughters fatal car wreck she was in and acquired a severe DAI and short term memory loss and many secondary injuries. I was having a difficult time with pulling the 2 issues together, as each time I typed a character in the space provided, it would almost act like predictive text on your phone. So I decided to copy and paste what I had already typed and place into the “Notes “ in my phone to correct all the errors and then finish the complete story and out come of how my ex was able to deceive so many by actions and verbiage. What I was trying to get to was my ex was successful in receiving the 100% VA disability by being very deceptive and defrauding the government. This all took place prior to my daughter acquiring the DAI she legitimately has. My ex (who can’t be located) is living off 100% tax free monies from the VA and SSDI, and has absolutely nothing wrong with him as far as the other sides he claimed to have, as he must have some type of mental issues to defraud the government and still sleeping at night. After he was tenured, he had a Private physician titrate him off all of those crazy meds he was taking once he no longer had to attend meetings, and have blood test taken monthly. He has ZERO remorse for what he did, and when our daughter was permanently brain injured, he helped me for approximately 3 months, then after physically abusing our daughter physically and mentally and was caught on camera he bounced as pictures (in this case video and having visual and audible capabilities), don’t and can’t lie. He now knew he had committed a federal crime that would leave him without what he worked so hard to achieve by deception, when he physically assaulted our now defenceless , adult disabled daughter. He threatened my life if I turned him in. He had forgotten there were cameras and video recordings all over our new apt, except the restrooms (laminated signs were posted everywhere In my daughter and my new wheelchair accessible apt. regarding all the cameras, videos that were recording and were visual and auditory). I did turn him in and nothing was done about it, except letting me know I rectified the problem by kicking him out. APS saw and heard him threaten me, and literally admit to what he had done approx. 3 years earlier and dared me to have that money taken ftom him, and what he had put his body through to obtain the VA rating then full SSDI. still nothing was done to him for hitting our child 3 times , and yes.... in the head, nor did the VA want to hear they were outwitted. So he continues to collect all the benefits, not just financial. Then there’s our daughter with a true diagnoses and she can’t get the medical care or therapists needed to help her rehabilitate. There’s no wonder there is so much Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. The hotlines to report the above issues, are jokes. Had someone taken the time to compare his medical records from Kaiser (when he was released involuntarily from Kaiser after being caught lying and telling some whoppers on the day I met him unexpectedly for lunch). The 2 psychiatrists called him on the rug that day in front of me. The asked me to confirm what he had been telling them and not one thing was the truth except his name. So he started over at the VA, as it was only 3 weeks into these group sessions, but he’s a quick study. The VA bought it all and he covered his tracks by stating up front, I didn’t believe in him and that hurt him more than the PTSD and the Bi-polar he manufactured. So he’s still receiving everything and our daughter who needs the medical help, therapists, surgeries, by seeing and having factual CT’s, MRI’s, is getting zero help at all. This is a crazy system and one that needs to be re-evaluated in a big way. Yes, I’m bitter and upset because I don’t have the comprehension of how this is allowed to happen. I’m sure my ex is not the first who was able to pull this off and it disgust me seeing those who truly suffer from the above issues which he could have won a academy award for manufacturing and acting out, and those needing the 100% aren’t getting it because of individuals like my ex. Then of course and my main issue with all of this is my daughter, and her inability to receive the care she must have and he is getting a free ride all the way around. I had to reply to what I just happen to run across when researching something for my daughter in hopes to find help for her. When I saw the article I had started and was never was able to complete was posted prior to me making the necessary changes and bringing the 2 different stories together so they made sense. I was left w/out a choice and had to reply to straighten out the unfinished and non-proofread story that ended up on this website. I don’t have time to elaborate on the entire chain of events as the above is the tip of the iceberg. I gave up trying to get the help my daughter needs to give her the quality of life she could have, because I’m not as intelligent as my ex, and I try to follow the rules and not deceive others. I’ve never requested anything more or less than what she truly needs. So when you hear “Cheaters don’t win” that’s incorrect, as the one prolific cheater I personally know did win, and my daughter lost because I played by the rules.

Hello, My son 21 was in a accident On April 2,2020 he was hit by a car while riding a bike home from work. He Is now home eating,talking ,cursing, walking with assistance but, he does not want to get out of bed and try to do anything. Should I make him walk? He’s incontinent and hates to be changed... he holds on to his briefs so tight... I don’t know what to do

Have you talked to any social workers from the hospital? Did they offer any inpatient rehab?

Has anyone ever spoken to you regarding the changes in his personality and how to deal with it? Getting into a support group would be a help.

Also, speaking with his doctors and getting him into therapy physical/cognitive ASAP would help him greatly, the sooner the better.

My near fatal accident ( was fatal for my husband) was April 5, 1989 and I was 22 at the time.

Thank you for your insight and I appreciate it very much. As a single mom caring for her adult daughter who acquired a severe DAI, severe short term memory loss and many secondary injuries in a fatal car wreck as a front seat passenger wearing her seatbelt in late 2015. It’s end of June 2020 now, and the difference of care my daughter receives in Florida vs Georgia is less than despicable. If someone would get her the help she needs, there’s no doubt in my mind she would recover to 80-90%. I’m not naive and know she will never be 100%. My daughter was 33 and has 4 children when the car wreck occurred. Had I known my move to FL in order to be in a warmer climate so she would accelerate in the already amazing progress she was making from having the incredible rehab and then continued medical care/treatment and therapy’s while living in Georgia I never would have made this decision to move to Brevard County, FL. Not only is she not receiving the proper medical care/treatment, therapy’s , and medications she should be receiving, she’s declining at a very rapid pace, as I can’t do everything on my own. I didn’t make this move blindly, I researched, reach out and spoke to medical individuals to ensure she would receive the same quality of medical care as she was receiving in GA. However, I was given erroneous information and to this day I can’t wrap my head around why I would be told the information I was given.
What’s so upsetting is the care is available, but her insurance company is denying everything my pcp has written orders for in order to help my daughter. Her PCP was changed to another Physician who could give 2 cents how she’s feeling and/or doing. I asked why was my daughter changed to you as her PCP after over a year of having the same PCP. Her reply, your daughter needs a higher level of care. This from the doctor we’ve seen twice who didn’t call I. A specific medication my daughter has been on still 2015, and wouldn’t listen or look at the damages she caused by not calling in my child’s medication that took forever to get the right medication regimen while in GA, as all TBI individuals heal and respond differently to different medications because we are all wired differently. I feel so guilty for making this move, and allowing her insurance company and now her new PCP having the ability to control her outcome and future. It disgust me they are allowed to get away with this, and allow my child to suffer and in pain. You name it and I wear that hat, as we aren’t receiving any in home help, therapy, etc. that would help dramatically only if she receives the medical care/treatment the insurance company says they cover, and when a Order/Referral is written, they deny it faster than anything and I’ll receive the denial in the mail. How am I supposed to file appeals and give my daughter all the help she must have in order not to be in a vegetative state? There’s something very wrong here, and she’s even on a waiver program that doesn’t supply what they say they do and she must have. I’ve reached out to ACHA and nothing has changed. If it wasn’t for my son, and my only other child we would be living on the streets due to financial reasons. My son is the youngest of my 2 children and has altered his life so his sister can remain in a safe, loving, and caring environment where she’s treated with respect and dignity. I’m so tired of hearing your doing a great job and hang in there it’s worth it. I just want to scream you don’t have a clue what is happening to my child since we’ve moved to FL.
Whatever individuals you are a case manager for are very lucky to have you as their CM. You actually sound like you care, and are an advocate. My daughters CM will not do anything to help us but says she will, and that adds to the stress and anxiety I already had. God knows, I don’t need anymore of either on my very full plate. Thanks for being the person you are, you have some very fortunate individuals who I hope know how lucky they are and your understanding of what it’s like to be a caregiver and everything else you must do. But this is something I’ve never encountered and someone should be held accountable for my child not receiving the proper medical care/treatment she’s required to receive abd is covered by her insurance company.

Hi- when my son was 6 he fell about 15’ through the floor of our house and into a wooden stairwell. He landed on the stairs but he hit the front of his head pretty hard. I rode with him in the ambulance to the trauma ER- the attendant was have a very hard time keeping him awake and alert. They treated him, but there wasn’t the attention on concussions back then like there is now. He stayed overnight in the hospital and was vomiting, but they didn’t really do much testing and he followed up once with his pediatrician. To make a long story short, he is now 21 and struggling with academics, organization and following through. He has never been a good student, but he seems to get overwhelmed very easily and he’s frustrated and feels like a loser because he isn’t doing well in college. He also has hearing loss that requires hearing aides he never wears, and smokes marijuana on a regular basis.

Do you think a head injury of that nature can have such a serious impact now as an adult and make academics difficult? If you think so, please tell me how I can go about helping him- should he be tested? Everyone in my high achieving family thinks he’s lazy.

Thank you!

This was a very good read. Thank you! I am post TBI 5/17/08 age 50 then. I fell 11 feet and broke my fall with forehead hitting a concrete brick wall, had an outer body experience too. I saw myself falling. Anyway, euphoria started that very second, and at the ER I had no idea what i did for a living . I was a nurse for 20 yrs. No longer now. Being that I broke the fall with my forehead, I dislocated my head off my spine and still off cause no one noticed it since no one xray my neck . I also hit my chest/heart at the time when my body slammed into the concrete cement landing. Needless to say, since then I still have problems but I work very hard. One of the biggest problems is the anxiety, fatigue and depression that exacerbated from the tbi, never mind the cognitive stuff which I can deal with since they say i just dropped down a few pegs..LOL. I can't taste stuff so I tend to eat more to try to taste it, and as told, I don'thave a shut off valve to tell me I am full. Anyway, i hope in years this tbi concussion that so many of us suffer from, losses the stigma that attaches to me "you are crazy" when I can't deal with my emotional excitement. I try to tell people not to excite me cause of the delay in process which then gets overloaded and I just pop! Well with that, I one day hope the government looks at someone who had success as a nurse and all of sudden can't do stuff that overwhelms me , understands that yes the brain is resilient but also to, it changes very much after an injury. I know I changed but I am still me, the thing is I don't work and people have a hard time understanding that when I can commuicate so well. Thanks again for the article, I feel supported by what you wrote! Amen.

You are an inspiration.
My brother has just suffered DAI, and they want to send him home as an outpatient, straight from hospital.
He had an MVA, so acceleration/deceleration cause of closed TBI. I am very nervous, as research suggests, that individuals have better long term outlook, if kept as inpatient for awhile...
Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish you all the best

Hi, thanks for allowing us to post here.

May husband had two major accidents, once when he was 3 year old and fell out of the truck and another one when he was eighteen. Both accidents had severe damage to his brain. He is not able to make sense on his ideas, very high sex drive, most dialogue is out of context and does not know how to use appropriated language to speak to people, drink a lot of alcohol thought the week, has sleep problems, does not practice any activity, hard to communicate. However, he is physically active drives his truck, he is able to complete some tasks around the house, plays with kids (but sometimes he cant measure dangers, which worries me), he sex-drive is very high.
We have been to psychiatrist, he is currently under medication.
My questions is,
Is there any therapy he can do to improve his abilities even though his accidents was a while ago?

Thanks kindly
V.

a few days ago my hair was pulled hard by someone. it made a scary skull sound . the person that pulled said they felt a liquid at pull. looking for answers of what that was . and what symptoms to watch for.. cant find in google.

One year ago I was assaulted with a pistol and hit unconscious woke up and was beat unconscious again. To this day I have migraines everyday they haven’t gone away. I notice my brain can’t think as quickly, I can’t focus on conversations as much. My attention span is shorter. I stutter when I speak now or lose my train of thought. I was a victim of a crime and I have no insurance to see a doctor about it. I wish there was something I could do because this effects my everyday life and my future. Also I don’t remember months of my life before the event. I see photos and have no memory or feeling towards it like I was never there. It’s depressing. If anyone has any advice please reply.

I was attacked and thrown off a 4 story balcony and I lose train of thought sometimes , my mind is always racing,I stutter sometimes and I get my words mixed up.
And I’m always depressed don’t wanna do anything most of the time , I ache constantly but no one believes me.
I try to explain this to people and it’s hard to explain like I sometimes I feel one way and act another way and don’t have a reason at all why ?
Idk what to do I feel like I’m goin crazy and I’m alone .

Stay strong, you are never alone. Lots of people feel the same as you do. Things will get better.

My husband had a severe fall head first out of his bobcat. Major lacerations on head emt said you could see skull. No ct scan was done and since then I have noticed his thinking is not normal. Mixed up doesn't remember things etc. Went to a neurosurgeon and he prescribed a medication for headaches. Felt like he were wasting his time. The medication made no difference. Can something be wrong ?

Thank you, Michael Paul Mason. Thank you for making so much contribution. My dad just underwent a brain surgery. Just now, I asked Google Assistant how to help. It leads me here. The article is easy to follow, informational and full of love. I will use this to help people around me better. Thank you again.

I had a Head trauma at the age of 24 in 2006. I am now 37 is it true that your mind stays the way it was at the age of 24??

I don't think so, the brain has a way of healing its self. You may not be 100% how you were prior, however we mature and change ( without realizing it) into adulthood

I don't think so.
I'm glad you overcame it. Is it really after some time you felt better or worked very much or a a little bit? I am searching young tbi patients for the advice.

My husband has a 3 1/2 inch lesion on his brain, left over from a brain infection he got as an infant, as a result of an ear infection. It’s in the area of the right frontal lobe. Is this considered a TBI? I don’t know where to start reaching out for resources.

I fell top to bottom of staircase backwards missing majority of stairs I hit the skirting board with corner of my head there was no cut but the impact on my head caused indent on my brain I now have uncontrolable unpredictable seizures I find it very hard to remember things or even explain what I've just seen its very frustrating I've found help controlling seizures a bit better with a VNS monitor

I was hit In The head by a crane at work it did cause alotta damage too me I can’t remember shit anymore I have these, the worst headaches ever I’m scared to go to sleeep at night sometime mmhEs I can fall asleep most the times I can’t sleep all day every day my headaches they hurt so bad ii Want,,ii need help don’t know what else too do

I've occasionally called my partner a name that's from my past it upsets her no end but she doesn't believe me that it's not intentional. Is this common?

Yes it is Common under the Conditions of A Head/Brain Injury , concussions and( TBI ‘s ) Traumatic Brain Injuries. From A Mother’s 16 yrs. of a Survivor of My Son. He was 15yrs.Old when it happened and is 32 now.

I was 18 when I got into a single car accident thrown from the car blood clot right front lobe I am now 50 so I understand what your talking about

I had a fall recently which resulted in a small bleed from the brain. All is well but my hair which has been naturally ash-blonde all my life (I am 69 years old) has within hours of the fall started to turn red but from the bottom of the hair and not the roots. I have not changed any medication, shampoo, or anything at all but the red colour is spreading all over my head from the ends of my hair, not from the roots - Can you explain this for me, please.

Ollie Walton

I was the victim of a Head On collision when I was 19; I’m now 56, and everyday is a challenge!
I spent about 10 weeks in a deep coma, because of the length of my coma, they were talking about putting me in a care facility, but I amazed the rehab staff by waking up. Oh I didn’t just wake up one day, each day I was a little more alert.
My life currently: No Career, No family/wife, No children (obviously), few friends. Here’s the worst part, the “accident” wasn’t my fault!
The accident was on May 7th, 1982, and most; if not all of my friends have walked away from me.
My fiancé I had expected to marry and start a family with, contacted me recently and I come to find out she’s been married a few times with four children. That’s what angers me the most, our chance at happiness was taken because of my injury!
I’m angered at the way Hollywood thinks a coma is temporary, you wake up and resume your life! Well that is Totally Wrong, life is never the same!
People say “Well at least you didn’t die.” Sometimes I think it would’ve been easier if I just died!
Well I didn’t Die, so I’m left being a shadow of the man I use to be. And that really SUCKS!

I was 17 now 59 and know exactly where your coming from from start to finish. After a long process of recovery to put me in a better place I basically muddled along daily, fighting with myself and everything and everyone around to be left in a similar place now to yourself. It's certainly tough now looking forward and very difficult to get anyone to appreciate the physical and psychological mess you're in!

I’d like to give my condolences to the 19 year old gentleman you once where & How awful this pain has changed your life and gone with you all these yrs. you see, my brother was killed in an car accident in 89’ and he was only 20! He was the passenger. I have lived with his death daily. I have tryed to let it go but I had to get to a place in my life where I turned myself back over to God. Only my relationship with Him can take all my pain and fill my Heart ♥️
& memories . I will say a Prayer for you to be able to get past your grief of what you hurts you& holds you back from living your BEST LIFE! GodsBlessings , Kimberly

My daughter was killed in a car accident, she suffered a brain stem injury as well as diffuse axonal injury. Witnesses reported approx 3-4 minutes after the crash that she still had a 'faint pulse'. I'm told she died in a manner much like someone who was hanged, or strangled. She was holding a small object in her hands at the time of the crash, and never let it go. They removed it a day later for the autopsy, but her hand remained in that position. How is it possible to hold onto something after death? Is it because her brain could not send a signal to release the object? Any information at all would be appreciated greatly. I'm one of those moms who needs to know everything. Thanks

Hi if you have a brain injury is your brain more fragile then before and is it easier to get a brain injury

My husband was shot through is frontal lobs during an armed robbery. Left side in, out right on the top. I have read everyone comments , everyone seems to now something is wrong. The problem with my husband his recovery is a miracle but according to him nothing is wrong, and he still can't comprehend what happen to him. He was diagnosed with dysexcutive syndrome. I know him for 31 years. There is so much missing, logic reasoning, emotions, no more intelligent discussions. You just don't know what you will get. No arguing . He doesn't understand any reasoning at all. His old memory is 100% but short term memory is shot. Which sometimes is a good thing, he does not remember what he was fighting with me the previous day. He has no empathy for strangers can be uncivil in shops. Nobody supports you in how really to deal with this. Everyone just wants to make a bug. Do you give him his way or do try to tell him what is missing.

Thank You. Suffering from mild TBI from accident in June. Exhausted.

Having sustained a TBI in 1981 at the age of 9 made matters difficult on me in SW, LA. I was in a coma for 28 days, was guided by a team of nurses to exercise to keep my heart palpitating, and never had my first seizure until the day that I was removed from that comatose state.. The first one was a Tonic Clonic and all the rest were Grande Mal. Based on my good health at the time of the concussion and the area that was damaged (FL) my recovery had here astonishing to many here in 2019 in SE, TX to the neurologists and psychologists whom have treated me

I was 6 months old when I was in a car accident and had a skull fracture. At age 3 I had brain surgery and at 15 I had my first seizure. I am 20 now and am on a variety of seizure medications.

My daughter had a very severe blow to her brain 20 years ago and was unconscious for over an hour. She was checked by a neurologist for months afterwards and was declared clear. She now has an MRI showing white blood cells in the brain at the site of the injury 20 years ago. Is it possible this is still from the trauma as they are now checking her for MS? Any advice would be much appreciated.

I have a friend who was just recently hit by a car while riding his atv and now seems to be suffering from amnesia, as he doesn't know who I am, where he is, and what happened. Unfortunately he has had a previous head injury from a atv accident where the removed a piece of his skull to relieve swelling and replaced it with a metal plate. His new injury is right next to the old injury. He has bleeding on the brain also which through the Kat scan is increasing. Will this eventually fix itself and about how long will it take.

Under any circumstances would it be considered normal not to be assessed for TBI if you were riding a motorcycle and had an accident at 80mph?

No - it would not be normal. Any blow to the head can have consequences and should be investigated, even to rule it out.

I guess you'd call me a baby boomer . I was raised in the 50's when stuff was kept in the family. My dad was a very short tempered and frustrated man . His main thing was to grab me around the neck and hit his fist on my head . This went on constantly to the point I was once knocked out . He did this my entire childhood until I moved out when I was 18 . How would I find out if I have TBI and how could I treat it now ? I'm 72

To find out if you have a tbi, you need to get tested by a neuropsychologist. You can self refer or go through a medical doctor. Good diet, activity and mental challenges help.

I didn't get that kind of abuse. But my mother has beaten me at the agee if 41/2. Now I am 52 yrs. I know I have TBI. Do not know what to do. I left home at 19.

I had a head injury when I was about 20 years old or so. I got hit in head with tree. So they cut my skull open for blood to drain. Now some time it burns and hurts were they cut my scalp or skull I don't think it's inside my brain. Just outside is this just nerve damage or sumthing else any help would be great or any one else deal with this. For 1 example I put my motor cycle helmet on and lean my head over it burns real bad. Use to just do it then now it does if I move my head a certain way or raise my eye brows up. It burns and feels weird there. Thanks ?

Hello everyone I am 37 years old and I suffer from a Traumatic brain injury. When I was 24 years old I got into a catastrophic car accident which led me in a coma for almost 4 months on the way to the hospital I died six times I suffered a collapsed long punctured spleen punctured bladder bleeding in the brain broken ribs broken pelvis Broken hips broken leg and also a broken clavicle i also jacked up my back I’m in pain every day which totally sucks I also have very bad nerve damage which affects my sciatica nerve. So I’m going to start off with this when I was nine years old my dad was in a horrible car accident and he also suffers from a Traumatic brain injury I’m gonna to try to keep this short and sweet and not get too much into detail. Please Can someone please help me out? Does anyone know anyone in my position where their father suffered a Traumatic brain injury when they were a child then later on in life they suffer for a Traumatic brain injury? I really need some help on this because I feel alone. I have therapy I see a psychologist twice a week and psychiatrist once a week. It would be greatly appreciated if someone could help me out. I hope someone out there can help me. Thank you Mike

Hi Mike. Have you gotten any answers to your question yet? My dad suffered many TBIs, some before I was even born. He lived a risky and dangerous lifestyle. I got my TBI when I was 17. I had just graduated high school with honors when I was struck by a drunk driver. You're not alone. TBIs can and do just happen to the best of us. ☺️

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