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 (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 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.

I'm always suffering from headache and whenever I go out. I can't see directly to a place because of the sun. It makes my head more in pain. I don't know why.

I am trying desperately to love my husband suffering the vicious aftermath of multiple TBIs. I love him so much and he scares himself but will not admit it. I am becoming afraid for my physical safety.

My husband has a TBI. There is no help in our area, the are not enough counslers to help long term suffers and regular counslers won't wnev see him. He suffers daily. It's been 26 years for him and he will be 50 years old soon. Issues get worse for him every day. No one cares. No one understands.

I am sitting in my bathroom wondering if I can fix this problem with my brain swelling all the time creating seizures and ton of other problems in my life.. Along wth the tremendous pain it brings me it also has brought me alot of emotional problems including relationship issues for both me and my partner whom tries so hard to care for me and be loving and attetive as he can. It is extremly hard on our relationship and I want so badly to fix this, I just dont know what else to do any more I know that I am not crazy and I feel like I am losing my mind. Finding this site has helped me to see that cutting into my own head hoping that this will ix the issue has helped me tremendously so I want t Thank all of you for your honesty and comments they have really helped.

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I had a TBI February 2013 in a snowtubing accident where I slammed into a tree and cracked my skull. Had emergency surgery just hours after that happened. As I dont remember anything from the accident or a few days after I can say with approaching a 1 year anniversary as a TBI survivor with as grateful & lucky I am to be alive I feel no one will truly understand what it is like mentally to understand what has happened. We all are lucky to be alive.. we truly are but I can say I never will remember how I looked at life before my accident since life has changed drastically. To strength & to those affected DO NOT give up no matter the moment & feeling.

Michael, 55 yr old. I complained for years about my vision. It was hard to describe, not near or fare sited. On and off trouble, some times like a film, or almost tunnel like. Could see detail great at times, other times none at all. My OT suggested I had a common eye disorder going on after a TBI. I was refereed to a specialist in the field, not a normal eye dr.They do a lot of testing way different then an eye exam. One thing they measure is your eye movement and if they are working together or against one another.  My movement was all over the chart. Found I have peripheral and depth perception issues also. I am now under going an eye therapy program, which I have high hopes for. It was nice to get an explanation and to see all my test results on paper. It showed there is one less thing I was dreaming up and would not just go away. They are a huge help and treat a lot of TBI pt. Feel free to email me with any questions.

I had TBI work accident 20 years ago.  Was in hospital almost two years, losing my speech, balance, memory and my ability to think.  Was like being born again, physically and had to learn everything again, at the age 28 to 30!

Got married age 34 and have two sons aged 13 & 10. Been basically paralyzed on my right side, use my left hand for everything, dressing, eating, even driving the car!!  Yes I drive an automatic car using my left hand to steer and my left foot to accelerate and brake!  Though I still cannot walk unassisted, walk holding a four legged frame.  I can talk now ok, though singing I have lost tone and cannot go high, sing baritone- I'm male!

My memory for the very past is vague, though recent is good and my understanding has returned.   

God is good and we know in eternity life will be perfect "for the former things have passed away" and there will be no more pain.  John 3; 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but receive everlasting life." 

i sufferd tbi when i was hit by drunk driver 1979 my hubby taks care of me now on september of this year he was hit riding his mopad and we belive he has tbi and im worried he will not be able to care for me and how will i take care of him we notesed changes in memory and he gets upset more easley. we have no insurance he cant work and i dont know what we are going to do i love my hubby we ben married 35 years no one cares or wants to healp juist through stones at us so to speek
what a blessing was to come across this info. I am 58 and had a TBI 10 yrs ago. since I was unaware of what happened in the hospital I did learn that my mom chose not to put me into the TBI rehabilitation Ctr. because she didn't want to drive 15 min. to the facility everyday. Now 10 yrs later I can no longer deal with the rejection of family and friends and not being able to live up to everyone's expectations. I am looking for a rehab facility I can go to before my daughter graduates and has plans to get married. she has bn my caregiver since she was 11 with no help from her older sister or brother as they were married and had families. we briefly went to TBI family support group with my ex husband Lindsey's father. that was 10 yrs.ago. the doctors never found out what caused me to continually black out and wind up in the hospital in ICU. finally I asked my doctor to refer me to Shands where they never discovered what made me black out so much but the neurologist prescribed a new med and I haven't blacked since 2010. it was good for me to read how others with TBI have experienced rejection, frustration, and agitation from friends and family because I could not live up to there expectations. I pray I will be accepted in a rehab facility since it's bn 10 yrs. I trust that God will make a way.
My dad was about to turn 88, a healthy man, lived on his own and was driving back from getting groceries when a bat out of hell lady came out of a driveway and pushed him into the ditch. His air bags exploded and he was knocked unconscious. Went to emergency and released many hours later. No one noticed at the time but after that accident he did not know any of us in his family. He didn't remember raising us or what it was like being the great loved father he was in our family. A few months after the accident I brought him to live with me and have tried to help him in all natural ways to get better. He is 90 now and still takes his walks and goes up and down really tall stairs for exercise. I look up info on the web for whatever his blood work results say he is off in. Low thyroid, low hemoglobin, etc, and try to give him foods that help in those areas. Just got a juicer and now making thyroid tonics from fresh veggies and fruits. Trying to keep his ph balanced and inflammation down. He takes no medications at all and just eats good and drinks green tea and juices, aloe vera and natural calm. His memory is interesting and I observe how sometimes he remembers what happened yesterday and a week ago and few times when he seems tired, he can't remember an hour ago. He sleeps as long as he wants at night (around 12 hours) and naps all day, if there's nothing else to do. His Dr at the VA wants to get him on thyroid meds for energy, but he doesn't really want any energy at his age. He moves a little slowly but hardly ever has stumbles or falls. His thinking and reasoning is way off from the highly intelligent dad I remember, but I want him to exercise his brain by reading, which he refuses to do. I wish there were brain exercises for elderly people to flex their mental abilities. God has been good to us, kept him alive through WWII, which are the memories he has that are as fresh as yesterday. He still can't believe he is as old as he is. I think, in the accident he lost the part of his memory right after the war. But when I jog his memory about certain things, sometimes he does remember, if I keep on bringing up descriptions of events or objects to see if it triggers something, it DOES help. Also green tea helps! Thank you for all your information!
Hi Michael. I am a 55 yr old assault victim. 3 blows to the base of my skull ( brass knuckles in his possession upon arrest). I suffered a cerebral contusion 10.05.2013. I thank God for this site > informative and comforting, I don't feel so alone. Depression just hit me a few days ago. Prior to that, I'd see something sad, but would encounter a delay in crying 7-8 hrs later? Wow! I zone out, without notice, always feel dazed and tired. No agression, just agitated because loved ones expect "the norm." Vision issues as well. My Doc says time. I hope she's right. Thx again for this informative article & site.
hi rob here had brain injury 35 years ago I get withdrawn and suffer bad depression worst thing for me is people don't understand and that include's family and friends they think I'm looking for attention god has been my friend through the lonely years and saved my life god bless all
Hi I am 22 years, old and my 25 year old brother (now 26) was hit by a speeding cab in February 2012 and suffers from a severe TBI. Over a year later he is onto his 4th hospital, has said a few words, but is still unable to really talk, walk or eat on his own. He has always been able to recognize his family, for example if we say point to Katie he will, or if I write a date he will point to me knowing it's my birthday. But he keeps getting seizures, which I know he will be prone to the rest of his life. The seizures keep setting him back, he'll take weeks to recover and each time he looses all the progress he has made. If anyone has some insight, experience, support, please email me at My brother is my best friend in the world and I am trying to help him in any way possible.
My 12 year old son had a severe TBI, the day before school ended in 2012. He was hit in the head when he was up at bat. We were told if he didn't have his helmet he wouldn't be with us today. We are going on 10 months now and he has short term memory loss, unable to understand sentences that he never had a problem with. He has constant eye pressure and headaches. He was such a popular boy and now none of his friends are around for him any more. It is so hard to see him so depressed, frustrated. It would be great if there were support groups for my son as well as for parents.
i was 3 when my first brain injury happened i was bit on the head by a pitbull/rotrieler and i was coherant the whole time but his teeth did puncture my brain plus an artury in my neck i had a drain tube in my head for two weeks...then when i was thirteen i jumped a BMX bike and my head was the first thing the slammed into the ground and it slammed into the only rock in the landing i felt woozy but coherant the whole time but after that i changed my personality my anger everything its gotten alot better but i am currently trying to work on patience and listening skills im trying to look pass all the lies ive told be the a honest person bby accepting whats happend to me and yea im slowwer then others butim no weaker and i knw i can conquer anything i put my mind to well atleast try
My son was in a MVA a week before his 18th birthday. He went over a bridge about 15 ft high. He was ejected through the window and layed in cold running creek water on a cold night in March of 2009 with our pickup truck on top of him. He layed that way for 2 hrs before he was found. He shattered his neck tore alot of scalp off. He know has c4-c7 cervical fusion and is in constant pain. I was told if he lived that he would be a quad on a ventilator. He is not due to the cold water keeping the swelling down. He did in exchange almost die of hypothermia. He said he only felt cold water on the back of his head (was paralyzed from neck down). He eventually got everything back. Still has neuropathy in his hands. he was never mentally the same and one day told me he time travels to another world with"them" and they left him and he just wants to come home. He was sitting at my kitchen table at the time. Had periods of delusions and was hospitalized twice. last time he got aggressive.. He is like a stranger in my house. Has short term memory problems, organizational issues, age regresses when I have to correct as I would a 5yr old (he's 22)and acts and talks inappropriately. My daughter is now 19 and she "misses her brother". She told me she disowns him. Can't get past the acceptance stage. I need to get him help and don't know where to turn. He spends every day in the house and has no friends anymore. Was a very popular kid who every one loved to be around. He is depressed and has no motivation to do anything. He sees evryone else carrying on with life and he's going nowhere. He should be graduating College yhis May. I want him to not feel inferior and do something with his life...even if it's just to volunteer. He is on Social Security and has no concept of money. He can never lve on his own and I worry what will happen when we aren't here anymore. He isn't stupid ..just has processing problems. Thinking some kind of cognitive therapy is in order