Traumatic Brain Injury Basics

Michael Paul Mason, Brain Injury Case Manager
TBI Basics


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 (291)

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.

My dad was in an accident and suffered a severe TBI. I love coming to this page and being able to read about the brain it gives me hope. This page inspired me to start a blog for him about his recovery and what not.

I am a person who suffers from a TBI, I have headaches sometimes, right side weakness because the gun shot was to the left side of my head. I thank God that I am alive. But it is changeling. I do have memory lost and I have to write things down.

I was the victim of a drunk-driving car accident almost 2 years ago. I was 17 years old at the time. The ironic thing about being in this accident was the drunk driver was one of my close friends driving the car intoxicated. He turned in an intersection at the wrong time and the car collided at the exact area where I had been sitting, in the passenger's backseat. I was instantly unconscious, and rushed to the ICU. I had my hair cut due to all the glass that was in my skull. I had bruises and cuts all over my face. The surgeons had did a cat scan on my brain and had came to the assumption that I would need brain surgury. I was then transported to the hospital in the largest city in the state of alabama. (I also had surgury on my broken pelvis). When I got to the bigger, more advanced hospital, they did thier own cat-scan and concluded that brain surgury was not needed. According to the doctors, I suffered a mild TBI but never-the-less, i still have lingering symptoms going on two years later. Some of my shorter term symptoms included: excessive crying, profane behavior, belligerency, short temper, migraines, no humor, and self isolation. Before experiencing these symptoms I dont even remember. I did not come back to conciousness of reality until 12 days after the accident. Within these 12 days following my accident, I did not even know my own mother, the one I have been supported by for 17 years. I did not recognize nobody for that fact. I told my twelve year old sister I would harm her, and I called my mother such things as a stupid ass bitch, ect. I had really hurt people emotionally in this time that is all quite a blur when i think about it. During the time of the accident, I was less than two months away from graduating the 11th grade. I was unable to return to school that year, and my school determined that in order for me to pass the 11th grade, I would have to take it over in the 2013-2014 year. However, my nuero-physocolgist told me this would be unlikely to be successful. so , what am I to do? I am now sueing my ex-close friend's car isurance company, and he's going against me. I dont understand why he would do this- Its not like im sueing him or he would have to pay anything, besides maybe a little bit more on his car insurance. I am having a hard time gathering my thoughts because the depostion for this is next friday, and Im not sure how to make the words sum together and flow properly, to describe my pain and suffering. Can anybody help me? please? It would be greatly appreciated.

It never ceases to amaze me, how many people are impacted by TBI -- either as survivors or loved ones. We need all the good information we can get - thank you for your work.

Yes. Crainal scaral therapy. I received this treatment twice a month. I am now able to work and take care of myself. Over the last 10 years since my TBI I have done many things. Kinesiology is a big one.

i had a bad accident hit a pole an was ejected out the car no seatbelt, my family not anyone can understand i am still in constant pain it affects everything i am at my witts end i only feel relaxed an feel like i can make good progress when taking temazepam has any one else found the same thing or know of something better ???

Good luck. If you live in Illinois the doctors are hard to find or give meds to make it worse. My fiance was left for dead on the railroad tracks a train came by and hit his head. We are still working on getting the right doctor. Its been 7 years already

Hello,my wife is a brain injury. Survivor and still dealing with headaches, discomfort nights and mood swings. Along with other,difficulties. I will continue,to seek help atto seek help for my wife of 21yrs; . Is there an Doc: out there that is willing to help my wife,with treatment,for her Brain issnjury and not just for the mental,effects she's experience. Mr.&Mrs.Sav;

Hello everyone! I have a question , I suffered a TBI when I was about 1 to 3yrs of age and when I became about 7 yrs old my parents moved and my parents stopped taking me to the doctor for TBI and I was never allowed to live as a disabled person. Of course I am 40 now and I need my  social security and keep being denied. I live in Texas and have even been told by the Texas DARS that there is no help for people like me. I do have a lawyer that was so hard to get , no one would touch it and they only took my case because I was refered by someone. Does anyone know why this is happening to me or what I can do about it?

After a patient makes progress from tbi what can cause the patient to become confused again

My sister n law was in a bad car wreck five years ago causing her to lose thirty percent of her brain they said her brain works like a fish now,but five years later she can now blink her eyes at you she looks around the room an can move her head to answer for yes and no I'm researching to see if there's anything we can do to help her an if she'll ever come out of it,I know she will be in a wheelchair because over the yrs she lost a leg an her other foot is bent in her hands are also bent in but I'm hoping shell be able to talk again one day.

Hi my name is Claudia. I was hit by a car March 6 2012 every sense I feel like I'm going crazy. I'm even in mental health. I feel lonely, sad and sometimes suicidal. Could I be suffering from tbi?up till now I have never heard of this.

I am 30 year old male. I have experienced 2 TBI's. My first one happened back in 2005, the second in October of 2010. I also was diagnosed with Leaukemia when I was 5-12. My first Tbi changed my life forever. I was riding a 4wheeler ( no helmet). I don't remember what or how it happened, my friends came to find me face down and bleeding out of every hole from the neck up. I was in a coma for 16 days and hospitalized for about 3 months including rehab. I had multiple scull fractures, 3 strokes and a number of surgeries. I was told I was going to be a vegetable the rest of my life and probly never walk again, here I am driving, walking and living on my own. Why am I still alive I don't know a strong will to live I guess. My 2nd TBI resulted in me falling and my head bracing the fall right against the pavement. After that the dr told me to stop drinking alcohol in any amount. have lost feeling in my right side, loss of hearing in my left ear, balance issues etc. Going through this I've come to realize that this is going to be a part of my life forever. It is a daily struggle with ups and downs emotionally and physically every day. I have learned to never give up, keep trying and as hard as it is I try to stay happy.

My 50 year old little brother suffered a major brain injury over 2 months ago. Part of his brain was removed and he has 2 shunts draining fluid from his brain. He is still in a hospital and can barely talk, still on a feeding tube, eyes going 2 different directions, now on anti depressants, lost 30+ pounds, can't sit up or take care of himself in any way.

When the accident happened we gave my niece, his daughter, the power to make all the decisions since none of the rest of the family had any idea what to do and she was at least in the medical billing business and the other daughter was unemployed.

My nieces have not allowed any visitors since this happened except for close family. I wasn't happy about this but we went along with it since he was so weak and has had 6 brain surgeries. They have not left his side at any point that was allowable to the hospital.

But now he's just laying in his bed with no stimulation. His body is very weak but healthy. The doctors say he looks absolutely fine on paper. He doesn't want to do anything though. 

My question to this group... do you think having visitors is beneficial to his brain? Or do you think the stimulation would be too much?

Hi, I have a husband who at age 51 was involved in a car accident.  Dr stated the jar to his head was as if a truck was dropped off a 4 story bldg.  His is an enclosed brain injury.  We were happily married, Jim was my rock, my best friend!  We were married only 12 years when this happened.  We are going on 25 years but I still cry many nights & am so lonely.  He has no sense of humor, no needs/wants for any affections, doesn't comprehend $$,  as for family issues he refuses to deal with my kids, period.  I mourn the man he was, I am not happy with the man he has become?  I stay with him because I remember who he was when we married, I feel angry, so angry at GOD that I have pulled away from our church.  It's harder now as he ages. His grown kids think he is just fine, my kids want me to leave him find happiness again.  My happiness is with grandkids but I miss my man, I miss him every single day~~~

Please help me .. Is it possible to get TBI if some one is slapped with bare hand?? My one friend is died after 2 days hard struggle, some stranger in road rage slapped him on road rage.. Kindly all give ur views......Thanks

I got my TBI from not wearing a helmet on a quad/ATV crash on the 4th of July 2013. I got severe brain trauma. I was in a coma for a month. They told my parents "we don't know if she will be OK, will live." Fractured 6 of my ribs, also 8 of my virtabre, put a hole and or hurt my kidney's, liver, pancreas (which I really hate because I'm diabetic and that is the organ that produces insulin, which from being diagnosed with diabetes it does not produce it, I have to inject it into me, in shots), "deflated" a lung, my right one. My voice used to be higher, now I have a deeper voice, I sound like a man. I now, every day several times a day, get very bad headaches, I think there called migraines. I have a very very bad problem with short term memory. Anything around the day I hurt my brain I can't remember right now, I will some day. Which kind of really makes me mad! I don't remember losing my virginty in the 11th month 2012 or ANY sex I've ever had. I used to think I never have, but my ex boyfriend told me he did take it. I appreciate that I'm alive though. My speech was bad, people like my mom would have to say what a lot. I'm going to therapy though. Speech, physical for my balance problems and whatever she thinks I need and cognitive. I really didn't know or mean it, I didn't say the T's in stuff, like tha(T). And sometimes when I say "the", it sounds like "DA." And I have a really bad problem with cursing, way more than before my accident... And there's words NOW that are my favorites. Like AWESOME, I say that way to much, and the F word. And by the way, since my accident, no one has talked to me said "I'm glad you didn't die", I have no friends. Just 1 friend, Tom. And my whole life I was writing with my right hand, but now I'm shaky so I'm a leftie. I view the whole thing as, old heather died that day, but new BETTER heather has been born. I remembered my name, where I live, my home phone number... I guess it wasn't bad enough to make me forget that important stuff. I didn't get retardation. When I walked I'd drag my foot. But there is helping a lot!!!! I know now, that I forget to say the T's, so I repeat myself. Lately people can understand me. And with my WHOLE right side, its bad... My right hip area hurts, the right side of my brain hurts very bad, sometimes my back hurts, upper which is where I fractured my spine. When I crashed I got the worst damage to my right side. Because when I crashed, it flipped over, fell on me, on my right half of my body. I now like and dislike foods. With for example shrimp, love that still. And chocolate milk, I pretty much have to have it in every meal. But some of the foods I liked before I crashed, I don't like: won't eat. And I guess that accident changed me. I've been bisexual since I was about 12 I'm now 19, dated way more men, but now I think I'm a lesbian. And I used to be selfish, took my empathy and didn't care, only cared for myself... But now I care for everyone. Like the guy in my therapy, for some reason has a hard time walking... I feel bad! And my kitty kitter, I spend a lot of time with her. Before, I didn't really care, but now... That's been my cat since I was 5, she is 13 and I know she is gonna pass away soon... So I put her on my lap a lot, and even though she doesn't know what I'm saying, I out loud say "I love you kitter" because before she does unfortunately die, I love her I want her to live a happy life. And the music I like, metal and hard core heavy rock, stayed the same. Same favorite band: avenged sevenfold, WSOU on the radio 89.5 I still listen to A LOT. But what kind of sucks, is the medicine they put me on to help my brain, makes me poop hard, and makes my breath smelly, even after I brush my teeth "heather your breath smells." What did change that is great... Is I now want a job very bad, I dropped out of school when I was 16, so now I (have to) want to get my G.E.D. And my cat kitter, I pet a lot now, where as before I'd ignore her. I used to party to much, so I'd ignore every living thing in my home. What I did, drank and smoked, I have to wait until I'm done with therapy, so I've been sober for a year. And what I hate a lot, is that I literally can never sleep. Just lay down like right now, and go on the internet on my phone, or tell myself I hate how I have to wait... The articles at therapy (the best brain hospital in NJ the state) say TBI people get better around 2 years. Already delt with not sleeping for a year, so another 1 is fine. And something that bothers me from this, is a have not great vision. Always been "perfect seeing" but now I have a really hard time seeing far away. I can read small stuff just fine like on my phone, but say airplanes are blurry. See what I mean? I have to ask my mom a lot "what is that?!" I truly can't see very well... And to do surgery on my head, they shaved half my head, on the right side. D': my brain swelled, they took part of my skull out for a month, which is crazy. I really don't remember feeling any pain. When my brain got hurt, "it shut down, didn't allow yourself to feel any pain, or remember that day" I really don't remember that day... Going to my dad's, getting on his quad, going to Taylor's the day before. There's a lot of after effect's, maybe I'll post again. Heather Ann Smith (:

I was in a severe end - over - end car crash in 1982: I suffered a broken neck & what the doctor caled severe head trauma. I came to a few days later & recognized my family, but didn't know my own name. I went through the next 5 years or so with no short term memory. I went through a marriage & divorce, but don't remember my wedding day. I toured the nation playng guitar, but don't remember it. But I rebuilt my life, got education / training, & have enjoyed a satisfying 20 year carreer as a tool & die technician. I'm 53 now. I have 4 grown children & 4 beautiful grand kids. however, something is going wrong: I've become so O.C.D. that if I don't have a set schedule / plan laid out, I can't function. I will literally set in a chair or sleep all day when I have a day off work. I struggle with short term memory bad again, I shake, feel like I'm out of balance & walking on an air mattress some times, have headaches, can't sleep through the night..... i am so scared! And with the NFL's awareness to this & seeing these ex players degenterating and dying, i feel like them & MY brain is dying 30 years later. How can I get help? Who can I contact? I don't think my small town family doctor will be able to help.

I was in a major car accident in 91 among other injuries I had a 3rd class brain injury and caused injury to ny optic's been 23 years and this is the major issue I have progressively gets worse(that and mood stabilization) has anyone else had vision loss due their tbi wondering of if I'll just eventually go blind

hey how are you      i had a brain injury fell down a flight  of stairs into a concrete wall at the bottom...... but anyways i get headaches all the time up until i got botox done i sujest it if u suffer fro migranes like i did and i ate way to many pills  i would eat 1 aleve and 3 advile tylonal a.s.a ect in the morning and befrore i go to bed   and not including how many i ate in between  the dr that was working with me said to think about it i know its a bit heavy on the pockets but easyier on the liver and stuff like that

on july 10th 2010 my son was a victim of a brutal attack he was attacked with a claw hammer to his head, which he was left paralysed down his left side, hes now done marvelous and can walk with aid but his left arm has limited movement and left hand has no movement, my son was a mechanic before this happened now hes unemployed he suffers epilepsy an has just come out of hospital with having meningitis due to having a plate fitted on his skull. he's so bright in so many ways but his health now lets him down for any kind of work as he sleeps 16hours a day and has 10-50 mini seizures a day, his mood swing are dreadful i dont know if he wakes up with ocd, adhd or torrets, i cry most days as people tell me about his behavior when he goes out.. i put it down to peoples ignorance of the injury hes sustained because not all of it is visual 

This is very informative. It Helps Me Understand My Husband better.

To the person that was in a car accident, please don't be upset that you say everything on your mind it's not your fault, you can't help it , you have many people that care for you and will accept you for who you are. ♥️♥️ Much love ❤️

I was in a car accident at the end of January this year. According to my mom, I was sedated and on a respirator for 2 days. I had multiple brain bleeds from hitting my head on the door window. I don't remember the accident or the next 7 days that I was in the hospital. 6 months later, I've noticed that my personality had changed a lot. I say everything that is on my mind, I get annoyed easily, and it doesn't take much to make me cry. I forget little things a lot and my vision has gotten a bit worse. I wake up every few hours and my sleep walking has gotten worse. But the worse part is the headaches. At first they were all the time but now they are getting fewer and fewer. Hopefully soon I will get used to everything so it will seem normal.

my son was 17 when he was stabbed he suffered anoxic brain injury was in a coma for 3 weeks then got his ĺast rites but somehow he pulled through my heart was broken having to get used to a different person that was so hard one i didnt recognise memories of my son before brain injury were son suffered another attack which left him with tbi e has been through so much but still standing strong he suffers all the things that comes with brain injury.i havnt come to terms or accepted yet what has happened to my son dont no if i ever will. we hav good facilities here in scotland. its stilĺ earĺy days but i believe my son was brought back for a reason it helps me to carry on fighting and i will never give up hope without hope there is nothing

Hello everyone... I'm Nathaniel... My car crash happened on Labor Day '98. I look normal. You would never know if you didn't know. You would never know anything was wrong unless I became tired, or hungry. Then I become snappy! Well, more so than normal. If I'm tired, remind me to sleep. If I look hungry, remind me to eat. I was the only Survivor out of the 4 occupants of the Crown Vic. I was in Coma for a month and woke up bed ridden not knowing how to read, write, tie my shoes or brush my teeth. It was a pretty Gnarly situation. 16 years later I feel like I'm finally back in control.. Still living with Mom& Pop, but back in control.

My brother got thrown out of the back of a pick up truck when the driver slammed on the breaks. He was one of the first to survive the brain surgery  and the doctor told us to be careful of what you wish for . I thought the doc was a jerk but he was right . This accident ruined all our lives. My brother is still super smart could write a book if he had the memory . He is off and annoying has OCD but  the real problem is he has no where to go that he is accepted.  His doctors seem to want to get him out of the office just as fast as the rest of us don't want to deal with him. Now 22 years after his accident and Mom and all of the siblings are getting to old too take care of the crazy one. Where do you go?  Head injury is not a mental illness . 

There is  help there is a way of help but can't write about it as on this site

am 33 years old when i was 8 i was ran over takin to alder hey them to walton hosp put on life support i pulled thow but my mum n dad was told the worst but i was allright i could still talk walk but have fits n my head bangs mum n dad say i am two people 1 min i am lovely the next i am a cow i do find every day life hard but i have been with my boyfrind for 17 years dont no how  he puts up with me  i also have a son in a wheelchir who is 14 years old cant walk has celebpasly but i have looked after him never had help of any 1 n dont need help with him he helped me i lot made me who i am

I was electrocuted 2yrs. ago and suffering from TBI from the fall and hitting my head. My whole life has changed for the worst. I'm currently on workmens comp. I see workmen comp. doctors and they make me feel like I should be OK! They have also said I have PTSD I'm trying to get thru this. I think if you are suffering from any of this you need to get to a support group I can't be around a lot of people so I have to becareful of my surroundings at all times. I'm moody ,I have bad headaches ,I have found I don't like or trust people anymore,but I try each day its a new effort to just get out of bed. My sleep is almost non existing but I keep trying. Don't give up, Don't give up. There is life after TBI and PTSD its just a different life then your use too. God bless you. Dwayne from Phoenix Arizona .

I was in a car accident 3+ yrs ago and sustained a mild TBI. Since then, I lost my job and am now disabled and still hoping symptoms (mostly headaches and anxiety) will go away. "They" say 3-5 yrs, like it's nothing but my life will never be the same. I'm one of the lucky ones they tell me. I agree with you-there needs to be more support out there. No one is even talking about it and there's no cure. Just wait and hope. Bless you for hanging in there. My moods and crazy behaviour did improve after about a yr and a half. I had a good support system of family and I made sure I made all the appointments: physical, occupational and speech therapy. I'm not sure how much it did for me but getting myself out of the house and continuing to move was helpful. Hang in there. Praying for you all. Laura

My fiance has had 3 different incidences in which he suffered a concussion, and an automobile accident that resulted in a really bad (Traumatic Brain Injury) forward 25 years. Before we got together he has been misdiagnosed by professionals in several areas of his health, especially by a psychiatric Dr. This psych Dr. totally disregarded his TBI not to mention the psuedo bulbar affect (PBA) he suffers as a result of the TBI; (if u don't know what PBA is, please look it has a huge bearing on the TBI sufferer and their loved ones). As u can probably surmise from the above info/statements, I have completed much research about TBI's because I had a pretty good feeling that his symptoms/reactions/behaviors were so drastic, sporadic, and inconsistent, that there had to be something physiological going on. And of course there was. My problem is that I can't get him to discuss things with his Dr. In order to get the proper help WE need. And he has this feeling of impending doom-hence he worries about how he will decline mentally, with age. Nothing I say can convince him that I will be here, and would never allow them to put him in an institution, or mistreat him...does anyone know about TBI's impact on the aging process?? Please share your experiences/info with us on this site if so... Thanks to all who have joined this conversation..Zana and Kevin.

My husband had a TBI earlier this year. He has improved tremendously physically. After seeing him trying to feed himself and walk by himself i thought we were home free. Thanking God everyday things could have been worse. But, he is having anger problems, paranoia and obsessiveness. For some reason, he is so scared of losing me that he thinks i am going to leave him. He accuses me of other men. I love this man with all my heart and have no plans to leave him but it has gotten so bad that i have had to get medication to help me not have a mental breakdown. i can not convince him that he needs help. he is already on an antidepressant and does not want to take any more meds. we get in arguments from the accusations and it is very hard for me to work due to the phone calls and emails accusing me of such things. Like so many of the other caregivers on this site and  others that i have been searching, there is no warning for the caregivers and no help in my small town. All i do is pray each day for healing for him and patience for me. i feel we will survive.   It would be wonderful if the hospitals and doctors would give handouts  or some kind of warning to patients and their care givers that have had head injuries that our lives have changed forever as we knew it.  I would also love to know if anyone else is going through this particular problem. God bless everyone.

I was in a car accident 2 years ago.. I was diagnosed with short term memory loss... I'm now taking retalin to help me focused... I kinda works! Before the accident I knew everyone's telephone number now I can't even remember the first 3 digits.. :-/

My boyfriend was involved in a fight and suffered a TBI in May 2013. Since then it has been an uphill battle. He has recovered quite well, but suffers from depression, anger and is very emotional (crying, yelling, physical at times). He went back to work so he has really tried to acclimate back to regular life, and we live together, which is VERY stressful sometimes. He has a major meltdown about once or twice a month, so bad to where I wonder if I can do it any longer? But then I think back to when he was in the hospital and I just knew I couldn't love anyone more than I love him. I know its selfish, but sometimes I just want out because it gets so crazy and hard, I know that probably makes me an awful person. Its nice to read other stories of the significant others going through the same things.

I was hit on side of car by an semi-truck in an intersection.  While it was at a very low speed, it was a quick jolt: he was taking a right and didn't see me in intersection in front of him.  This was 4 years ago, and I am realizing that the effects of this accident is still unraveling as I get older and time progresses.  Since the accident, I have right sided weakness, get the burning, tingling sensations, chronic pain.  I've learned to deal with it, prior to my accident I was above average 'fit' for my age.  To help cope, I still exercise, but still learning where to slow down due to pain.  What is new, or I feel is progressing, is this feeling of confusion (like first few months after accident) that at times I find it hard to articulate what my mind wants to say!  I believe it may be what I read as aphasia.  I plan to see a neurologist, but I work in an industry where I fear that (regardless of HIPPA laws) any perception of my health, or future medical issues will be certainly a part of evaluating my 'asset/liability' to the company and it's culture.  At any rate, I sincerely wish the best for you all.  If you were recently in an accident, know that years later you may still be dealing with the repurcusions.  Sadly, I was hit by a very well established food distributor that had deep pockets, so even though it was 'his' fault, I did not have a strong enough case to any law firm to take my case because the 'damages to my body' didn't warrant a firm to want to represent me.

My boyfriend of 4 years recently ( in the last 4 months) had an scooter Accident and received skull fractures and tbi . He is very angry and does like to be touched and can't sleep is this normal , especialy the touching part? Thank everyone for sharing .

I am the sister of a brother thats father tried to kill us both, me @6mths old by chocking and my brother at two was thrown into a brick wall... Ultimalty suffering a brain anurisum and still today as a result has a plate in his head the size of my fist... I've wondered since my brother was in purberty as a result of chages in the adolecient chages.. Is this why he seemed to have almost over night turn from a A student & city champs hockey player as well as 1st place track and filed runner... To a criminal, starting with dealing pot to major outburst if violance over the years.. He today is now a instatutionlized criminal of all I'm not sure of as the pain watching him change so drastically has put a major strain on out relationship and is mote estranged now.... I have always not had words but intutivly thought this major change in behavior was a result of the injuries as a small child?

I have been married 12 years, and my husband has had a severe brain injury for six of those years. The last few years of our marriage has been really hard. He is aged 58 years and is starting to experience noticeable cognitive decline.  He has a good heart, but I don't know if I can stay married to him. 

Thanks for TBI sufferers stories it helps to know I am not the only one struggling with weird issues I have suffered multiple hard knocks over my life mostly in childhood and while most only produced the average symptoms I fear that I can never know all the ways the I've been affected since my major incident occurred when I was two and a half years old and I have been lied to as the extent of my injuries by my mom here's what I know for sure I was hit with a bat in the face and lost multiple teeth ,broken nose and enough facial fractures to have my jaw wired shut. I don't remember the accident but I do remember wanting to scream and being unable. I have suffered from headaches insomnia light sensitivity, outbursts of anger and I don't register pain the same as others I won't feel any minor wounds and often burn myself because it takes longer for me to get a pain signal so I had to learn as a child to do a visual check when I fell , yet I still get aches from bruises weird I know. I also have nerve issues where it feels like I have bugs crawling under my skin on part of my face when it gets really bad it makes the muscles tick and twitch this as reduced in frequency over the years but it still happens and the thing I have ever found that helps is forcing a new sensation to the affected nerves ( I slap my nose cheek or forehead progressively harder until it tricks the nerves). I also wonder if I have a optical issue since at times the world shifts to technicolor and seems lit from within. I have almost perfect vision and hearing according to docs and my memory is the envy of everyone I'm close to so its unlikely that was affected long term and in terms of appearance I have been told over & over by people that they would have never guessed that my face had been smashed. Hope that helps

Thank you for this post. I have been seeking answers for my 17 yr old son, who had a malformation removed last year. He had started having partial complex seizures, headaches and memory loss. Thank God he had the best neurosurgeons and neurologists around. It was terrifying for him and the whole family. He was only 15 when the seizures started to become obvious. They had been subtle before, apparently, and I always suspected something but didn't know that seizures weren't just the grand mal ones. He was already acting more angry and I thought it was just hormones. After a successful craniotomy and resection he was seizure free. But, now he still has short term memory loss, depression, and has a hard time controlling his temper. He tells me he wants to, but doesn't know how. I've put him in counseling and would love if there was a support group of some kind in our area. I want to help him, but I feel helpless. I feel like he's given up on himself. From an A and B student, to failing grades . He's a good kid, doesn't hang out with the wrong crowds, and won't even say a cuss word. He believes in God with all his heart, and fills that he doesn't "fit" in with the rest of his peers. Reading some of this feedback has certainly let me know that we are not alone. I believe that God will continue in my son the good work He has started. :-)

God bless you all. It takes strength to acknowlege and express how your TBI's have and continue to affect your lives I admire every one of you. I pray for you to get your individual needs met. Please don't give up. This world needs you all. Thank you SO much for sharing your triumpfs and difficulties. It makes me appreciate my blessings. I wish you all the best and once again that your needs are all met.

An SUV hit me in 2013, which is I got my TBI. I'm expected to make a full recovery, which is more than great. I definitely count my blessings, but it gets frustrating when I try to sleep at night and my back hurts, or it gets difficult to breath. Sleeping in the basement seems to the trick for now, but I feel like the doctors, etc isn't taking me seriously. I've gone to specialist after specialist and had scans done, and nobody has an explanation or a remedy for why it's so difficult for me to sleep or lie on certain surfaces.

I hit my head on a pole and my symptoms are weird. The main thing is I'm tired of feeling tired and weak plus the headaches I have burn and I have bad muscle twitches. I've hit my head before and only had bad headaches but this one feels different like the nerves are shot. My symptoms are unexplainable at times and confusing. Ive been depress because of the injury but I'm hoping there's suck thing I can be on meds for bad nerves?

I'm 14years old and i suffered a tbi after i was in a car wreck on a school field trip and our vehicle rolled. And i was ok but now it feels like im losing my mind im just scared

My boyfriend was on a fight and due to the fight he now has almost half of his skull gone because of swelling. He is also completely blind from them swelling pushing on his optic nerve. I have been researching but haven't come up with too much. I am wondering if the swelling goes down can the optic nerve be un pinched and he regain his sight? He's such a wonderful person to have to go through such a horrible thing. I want to b able to tell him he will be able to see again it breaks my heart to look at him and talk to him. Then him not even being able to see me. :(

My brother has a TBI. He got hit by a car when he was 12 riding his bike. I was the only one who saw him get hit. He flyn 50 feet in the air and landed on his head with no Hemet on. Don't know if the helmet would of helped. anyway that was 23years ago about 10years ago I started taking care of him. I love him he is so smart he can walk talk everything his main issue is his temper and outburies. His doctor said he should be admitted to change his medication to help with his outburst. Now hospital has committed him and completed sedated him he is so sedated he can't even write me a letter I begged the judge not to commit him and let him go home but he wouldn't I feel helpless. This is the worst place for my brother its a state inst. all he does is walk up and down the halls all day. I want him home ASAP. They are destroying my brother

I have a "moderate Traumatic Brain Injury" resulting from a triple rollover car accident in 2003. I was not diagnosed until 2007 after I lost my job as a university professor. I also had PTSD from finding my husband after he killed himself with a shotgun six months after my accident. I have had nearly every symptom that can come from TBI including vision problems, anger, acquired dyslexia, losing time, memory issues, sensitivity to light and noise, neuropathy, incontinence, confusion and massive depression as well as many others. It has taken me ten years to understand how impaired I have become. Often you are not aware of many issues that arise. I have retained my basic intelligence and learning but I have serious problems learning new things such as running a cash register.  I have lost every job that I had since I left the University because of the TBI. People were disdainful to me, they did not believe me and they thought that I was erratic, irresponsible and stupid.  Old friends and fellow professors avoid me sometimes. I have had problems with anger, confusion, obsession, and paranoia. I was lucky enough to receive a regimen of medications which has really helped with many of the effects of the damage. It has been a very hard road for me, my income shrunk 95% in the year after I was dismissed from my teaching position. I have to check my work over and over for errors and tasks take a lot longer to complete. It is very hard to have any self-esteem when you work as a clerk in a pet store and cannot run the register, then people treat you badly and avoid you because you are different.  I have learned a lot and have a great deal of empathy for other sufferers of TBI as well as other mental health and cognitive disorders. Vocational Rehabilitation was a very helpful resource for me and I highly recommend it.

I am the caregiver of what was to be my husband exactly two months after his TBI. Thomas fell down the stairs at our home falling 18 stairs to a concrete slab with hardwood flooring striking his head on the newel post and crushing the left side of his skull in being unconscious immediately. With this long out, he cannot walk, talk, eat or care for himself and I am grateful to still have him. He is my life, my love and my joy. There are no resources or facilities in our area to help him. The home health agency says that I take such great care of him that there is no need for them to come to assist me with any help except for physical therapy two times a week. He is not to a place that anyone would accept him to a rehab so I do it at our home. There is a lot of sleep for him and tears for me, I miss what we had but I am blessed with what I have. He had no health issues before this and I am grateful for that and I think that is what makes this so painful/stressful. I wish he could tell me in some way if he is hurting, hungry anything!

In 1991 I was nearly killed by friends of mine in a candy store. One took a shoot at me with a 45caliber, while the other hit me with a bat. People stood around watching as this went on. I have a great issue trusting people over this and i am down on myself for the way I look now. Prior to this accident I was a handsome well like person with many friends now i have know one but my wife and child.

May everyone feel better for tbi is not a joke karma is a bitch.