What Exactly Does the "Mild" in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Mean?

What Exactly Does the “Mild” in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Mean?

Anyone who has ever experienced, even briefly, the symptoms of a mild concussion — headache, fatigue, fuzziness, confusion, dizziness, forgetfulness — knows that “mild” brain injury is a misnomer. But that said, most people don’t suffer any long-term problems.

A TBI can occur in a fall, a car crash, when the skull is struck by a heavy object, or a collision with an opponent on the playing field. Because the brain is protected in a shock-absorbing liquid and surrounded by the skull, in most cases, there are no long-lasting symptoms. The skull and cerebrospinal fluid are often enough to protect the brain from serious damage.

Although there are no hard statistics on what percentage of mild TBIs heal quickly and with no lasting symptoms, the medical consensus is that any symptoms from most mild TBIs usually get better in a month or so. If symptoms persist after six months, they often disappear altogether or are greatly improved within a year after the injury. And, most studies have shown that a single mild TBI presents no short- or long-term cognitive or behavioral risk.

Diagnosing a mild TBI or concussion — and tying symptoms to a mild TBI and ONLY to the mild TBI — can be tricky because sometimes symptoms may actually be due to another injury sustained at the same time as the concussion. For example, someone who sustains a mild TBI in a car crash may continue, months later, to complain of headaches. It might take a medical specialist to figure out that the headaches result from an injury to the neck and not to the brain, so they can then be treated appropriately.

The bottom line is that no jolt to the head should be considered acceptable. Our one brain deserves to be taken care of. That does not mean every hit to the head merits a panicked trip to the emergency room or that it will result in permanent damage. It just means that people should be aware of the fragility of their brain and seek medical attention if symptoms emerge after a hit or fall.

We’ve still got a lot to learn about the brain and what happens at a cellular level after a concussion. But for now, the good news is that most people who sustain or are diagnosed with a “mild” TBI recover quickly and fully. Some lucky people never experience any symptoms at all.


  • World Health Organization Task Force, 2004
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Concussion Clinic, Burwood Hospital
Posted on BrainLine January 31, 2012. Reviewed July 26, 2018.


Comments (53)

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 was diagnosed with a mild TBI a bit over 2 years ago, I was cracked in the head very hard, I’ve improved dramatically but... my brain still feels like it has a missing peace. I have insomnia, had serious depression, to say how it was at the beginning I couldn’t count to 3 the feeling I still have is almost indescribable. Sorry if this doesn’t make a lot of sense it flow my cognitive thinking and writing isn’t that good since I had brain injury. Thx, hope everyone is ok

To all of you who have suffered a TBI or are currently suffering: The brain needs nutrients to heal! A micronutrient formula, Fish Oil EPA/DHA, a vitamin B complex etc. Please see someone that specializes in Functional Medicine for a comprehensive review of what you have tried. Vigorous exercise, meditation, and being kind to yourself can help. There are is a good series on "The Broken Brain" by Dr. Mark Hymen, MD that could be beneficial and work by Dr. David Musnick, MD. It is important to be hopefully but without the nutrients, very difficult for the brain to heal. NAC and Niacin can also be tremendously beneficial.

I suffered a mild TBI in April of 2016, the symptoms did not become persistent until about 8 months after my injury an then continued to get worse for roughly 8 months afterwards. Sleep disturbances and constant exhaustion, personality changes, loss of emotional stability, to debilitating levels. Now over two years from the initial injury (car crash into a hard object going roughly 50 MPH) I am still suffering tremendous symptoms, though they are greatly improving over time. I literally feel like my life has been put on hold by my injury as it is all I can do to simply stay alive each day. I wish I had known that I had TBI instead of depression years ago so that I could have actually done something to better treat my symptoms before they got worse.

Mild TBI..... that’s an understatement. I would like to pretend that all my life changes have been mild , however I live with the side effects everyday . I probably will forever . I hardly think everything in your life going to shit ( health , functions , relationships) are mild :/ To everyone suffering like I have .... many prayers . It doesn’t seem like a top priority in our medical community unfortunately . Hopefully our future generations will be able to provide more research .

I sustained innumerable mTBIs over my Navy career without being diagnosed or for the most part even noticing symptoms. That all changed after my last (so called) mTBI in 2014. I have spent months in the hospital and going through rehab (to no avail). Our current medical professionals don’t care to acknowledge what is in front of them (at the time presented), but wait for some Doctoral student to do a study and then act like it is an epiphany moment. My symptoms continued to worsen for over a year and have yet to abate. I, like you, have had my entire life transformed into a $hit show. I wish that the medical community would stop trying to act like they know everything and actually SEE the Person(patient) in front of them. Good luck.

I’m heartbroken. My son’s mental health has continues to deteriorate since his multiple brain injuries through his growth and development. He is on SSI and Medicaid. He lives in GA. Whole attempting suicide when the police came he committed aggravated assault on an officer, ( pushing the ladder away from the roof as the officer was climbing up it) so now the legal system is involved with limiting his health treatment options. There does not seem to be any justice or services to help him. He has lost all hope.

Bettina, My heart breaks for you. I also have an disabled adult son with a myriad of neurological and mental conditions. It's absolutely unacceptable that your poor son would be charged with assault considering his state of mind at the time. I firmly believe the police are worthless and the legal system is basically corrupt (only good if you're wealthy). The last thing he needs is limited healthcare options. I'm sorry he has lost hope and I'd imagine you have as well. Please know that there are people out there who care about you and understand, if nothing else.

Based on the anecdotes of the people in the comments, this whole 'light at the end of the tunnel' concept seems like it's just a barrier to limit long-term care to those devastated enough by brain injury. Whether it be branding suffers as fabricating their own symptoms, misdiagnosing them as depressed or claiming they're just 'overthinking', it's pretty undeniable that 'mild TBI' can be anything but.

 WTF is going on?My TBI seems to be mild moderate if such a term can be quantified. I determined a 13 on the Glasgow scale. Four years later I had to retire from 35 years of teaching. By the end of the school day there was nothing left to grade papers or plan. My colleagues provided me with weekly lessons and monthly plans. I had to switch to a recumbent trike for two years due to vertigo and loss of balance. My eyes see differently due to now working on different axes. My senses of taste and smell are both compromised. My libido is substantially diminished. How did I get here? This is not my beautiful wife. This is not my beautiful house.

Please look into seeing a neurovision specialist. A concussion or mild TBI can cause eyes to be displaced very slightly but can cause a huge range of symptoms from dizziness, neck pain, headaches, nausea, anxiety--see the TED Talk " Could it Be Your Eyes"? Binocular vision dysfunction gets overlooked and mistaken for many other things--a special pair of glasses with an invisible microprism can make a world of difference and make most if not all symptoms disappear. It can co-exist with a TBI--it's not an either/or diagnosis. Hope that helps.

WOW. I have the exact same story. TBI needs to be evaluated more closely, as it seems like this diagnosis is falling through the cracks. I am a retired nurse, and I will say the TBI is a very difficult injury and recovery! Just as most people with this injury report. I am glad I know this bias about TBI , I was just injured april24 and this new life is so much harder than before the accident. Just so you know I GET IT. Maybe we can gang up and get our story out!

Hello, I am so terribly sorry about everything you are going through. My boyfriend seems to be going through the same EXACT symptoms as you. If you could further talk to me about what caused the TBI to take place and more of what you are going through that would be greatly appreciated.

Hello, here is some info that can help you guys.

New scan that can show disruption of brain connections is called diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI). It is a special T3 MRI connected to oxygen uptake of neurons, I believe. I live in Portland OR and the only place that does these scans is SIKER IMAGING. Even OHSU does not do these scans because they do not have the normative data collected.

WHAT CAN HELP: the only specialist I know that is able and willing to help is a Chiropractic Neurologist (has to have the letters DACNB after his/her name). These are not the "I can cure anything with an adjustment" kind of chiropractor, but really a specialist. Through eye movements he figures out what part of the brain is not working (right now gold standard to diagnose mild traumatic brain injuries for litigation). The guy I know well who has helped many people is Glen Zielinski, DC, DACNB, FACFN. 

I am starting to get a suspicion that my wife is currently suffering from a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Three and a half weeks ago (late March 2017) while we were both asleep in bed, in the middle of the night, the shelf above us fell and landed directly on her head. This shelf has significant mass and weight to it. It's pretty much like getting hit in the head with a two-by-four. I immediately woke up and took her directly to the hospital. Huge bruise and swelling. Dazed and confused. Vomited a little bit. Stayed overnight in the hospital and received treatment and was released. The MRI did not reveal any type of damage. They suspect that she may have slightly cracked her septum. That said, here we are nearly a month later and her personality is totally different. Mood swings. Poor decision-making. Impulsive. We have a great marriage and now suddenly she has kicked me out of the house and is considering herself separated. And she is also being very cold and mean. This all came on very suddenly and over things that need not be taken to this extreme period I am, of course, devastated. I am also flabbergasted. I want so badly to have her checked out at the hospital again but I fear that she will not be cooperative. Is it reasonable to believe that this is TBI?

Representatives of the medical community, in case any happen upon these pages, please take note of this great blog/page. I suffered a 'mild' tbi nearly 8  months ago and most symptoms are not getting better; some are worse.The net effect continues to be this: its been catastrophic to my life. I cannot work (I loved my work). I am lost, in pain, confused, dizzy, walk with difficulty with a cane, and it is difficult to get the most basic of life tasks accomplished. I am exhausted the great majority of the time and sleep up to 14 hours a day, still without feeling rested. Less sleep leaves me feeling even more exhausted.. So  the fact that this kind of review of the medical literature/information gives little or no credence to those of us who do not get over our trauma easily or quickly - well,  it makes the journey much more lonely, more confusing, more difficult to access medical care, and more difficult to survive or to cope with the legal side of things that many of us must deal with. There is no way that this many people posting here are not representative of a real portion of survivors, a portion that deserves and really needs to be recognized. Please stop ignoring that we exist. Please stop making broad statements that make others question our experience, our honesty and our integrity. Please stop making the act of living through our trauma and injury even more difficult.

I feel like you just wrote a story about my life. My husband also has a TBI. We are both in the medical field and I have done extensive research to try and figure out what is being missed. I would love to talk to you because your situation sounds painfully similar to ours.

After reading all the posts to this I can definitely relate.  My husband went in (alone) to a doctor's office for a normal blood test procedure; meaning they took a test tube of blood and were testing him for his levels of cholestrol, etc.  He told me the nurse proceeded to stick him 4 times to find a vein from which he said he told her he felt dizzy.  She told him to lie on the table.  She left the room he said. Next thing he knows he's waking up with smelling salts up his nose, not at first realizing where he was or what happened. The what is he fell off the table. Hit the floor face & head first; trauma to his face and head.  They immediately moved him to x-ray he said. The only reason I know all of the above is he had enough gut reaction (he's a paramedic) to call me to tell me what happened; (he now doesnt remember he called me from the office) they were releasing him; his head felt like a big egg on forehead & he was hurting but they were allowing him to drive his car home. When he walked in at home I immediately noticed the big huge egg on his forehead, loss of hair also, neck was also swollen. The pain & swelling from the fall proceeded to get so bad I brought him to the emergency room at the hospital that evening. His neck was triple the original size and the egg on forehead had proceeded to get bigger, but pain was his biggest issue. He was diagnosed with a concussion.  This happened on Saturday and that following Monday, his brother who had came over saw the condition of his brother.  (He's a District Chief) & tried to get records from Drs. office documenting the fall. He was refused. This was 4 1/2 years ago and my husbad was 48.  My husband was a young 48 with a vibrant personality, calm, cool, super swift with finances, energetic, etc. He now has short term memory loss; irritable at the smallest thing; has to write down everything, curses when he can't remember things, says his head hurts if he tries to think; (whatever that means); headaches, dizziness, equilibrium problems, depression has set in and he has had numerous tests; showing a decrease in his memory, reaction times, and other things they have checked with tests.  Our life has been hell, our relationship has changed, no emotions, no caring, no love; his whole demeanor has changed.  It didn't change drastically it was over a period of two of the 4 1/2 years.  4 1/2 years later i'm still holding on, i cry when he is not around; i have to stay strong for all of us while my son is in college & my husband continues to work. Certain persons think he is faking,  others that know him before the incident see the difference in him.  He use to laugh, very adventuresome and fun, mechanically and physically able to fix or build anything.  All has changed. Our son can't stand to be around him b/c of his drastic mood swings, irritability, hollaring, etc.  Bills are late if paid, so I took that responsibility away from him 2 years ago among all the others.  He is now on something to slow the memory loss down; the doctor said it won't change it, just slow it down.  I hate to say it but the doctors are definitely missing something significant, something miniscule for all concussion victims. Hopefully with more research it will provide some kind of Positive Impact on all that are affected by concussions (the patient & their families) have dealt with...it's definitely not a game, it's not a ploy, and it's not False, It is SOOOO Real & it hurts to see your significant other suffer.  All we want is to help Ours that are affected get better; that's all.

My husband suffered a TBI in 2007 with most of the symptoms here. Chronic headaches, short term memory, balance issues, visual changes, depression, anger and just plain frustration, in which he has fallen numerous times and always seems to hit his head. We have been fighting insurance company since August 2014 because they say brain injuries get better..point blank... They paid medical and attendant care for 7 years and just decided to send him to an IME doctor and of course they said nothing wrong with him. I quit my job to take care of him, no one understands what these people go through and their families. My husband has always been a go getter and still tries to be. Problem is forgets simple things, makes a lot of mistakes and hurts himself. He will never stop cause that's how he measures his self worth. He has almost burned our house down multiple times and done "stupid" things which throws him into anger and depression. Even our mediator said TBI's are supposed to get better. Not a lot of hope here. Any support groups in mid Michigan let me know. Its hard on me also.

To the author of this story,

What happens to those who suffer enduring symptoms? Can you please point me towards the evidence that is being quoted about how all MTBIs remit? I am not sure I believe it. Certainly nobody else who has written here does.

Thank you.

They're are currently doing research at University of Montana. Saw a show last night on PBS about concussions. They've found a protein that shows up in blood work. It a micro RNA issue. I believe this protein may show up if you're still symptomatic. The show is titled Concussion: Answers in the blood? You might look in to this. They need test subjects.

I'm tired and frustrated.  A six foot fall with no loss of consciousness resulted in a very small subarachnoid hemorrhage concussion and fractured shoulder.  I was confused for days.  Would be found just standing in closets. I would not turn water off after washing my hands.  My short term memory was bad I didn't remember clinics I visited.  A year and a half later I still get stabbing pains in my head and my word finding and recall is terrible.  I have been told by a " concussion specialist ". There is no way this can be related to the TBI as there is no damage on the CT scan.  I am somataform it's psychosomatic.

Just because you have a "normal CT scan" does not mean there is no brain injury. Many of these injuries are at the microscopic levels in the brain involving shearing of axons which do NOT show up on traditional MRI and/or CT scans. I am aware of what is called a Diffuse Tensor Image which is more sensitive to the areas of the brain which may exhibit symptoms in so-called "mild TBI".

each of the comments contains a question not asked, namely what is a "mild" brain injury? With somewhere near 14 open / closed cranial assaults I have over the past 6 of my 69 years had one plain easily understood no medical lega insurerese bafflegab answer to that question. This makes me think do any of the experts in the field have a clue as to what it is like living with an ABI be it a severe (I have most of the front temporal cut out after a truck rollover) or as the same experts claim them all mild ones? wanna bet they don't love to hear from just one of them.

I suffered right frontal lobe injury since a cough syncope fall onto my head 10/2013.  The admitting hospital completely missed the concussion symptoms. I was cleared back to work duty ( ER Nurse) and I was making critical mistakes and error in judgment and advised to not work patient care.  I still am not functioning as a nurse and I continue to suffer with headaches, anxiety , depression, and other problems I will not discuss here.  I think the TBI algorithm  they use is a joke. They tell me I have a " mild Traumatic Brain Injury or concussion". Well,  live inside this head for a day and you will not think the event was mild at all.  I did not ask for this outcome and I cannot predict my future. But I am tired of folks assuming I should be back to full duty or call my work "light duty". I give it 100% every day and some days are just horrible and indescribable..  As far as I am concerned I suffered a severe TBI because I am living it..The VA says the are accepting TBI brains for research post mortem.

It has been over three years since my Mild TBI and I'm NOT getting better, I'm getting worse. 

Hello everyone out there! It has been 3 years since my mTBI and I still struggle with the effects: lack of concentration, slow cognition, poor memory, trouble reading, anxiety, etc. The health system has not been effective to either acknowledge my condition or provide viable treatments to cope. Exercise, healthy diet, yoga, meditation, stress reduction, brain exercises; I have tried all the natural methods. I am not sure I will ever be the same so I get frustrated not being able to perform the way I used to.   If anyone knows and/or would like help organizing a support group in the east coast, please reach out.    

Please let us know the name of the psycologist that did the QEEG testing in WA? Thank you so much!

To the Lady who wrote" car accident May 9 2015. A 94 yr. Old man ran a red light'  I hope you read this.

Sounds similar to my accident but I didn't loose consciousness. I was rear ended by a lady who wasn't paying attention didn't put on her breaks and was going 40 to 45 miles an hour.  I was stopped at a red light, I didn't know what hit me.  I so feel for you.  I am sick of being treated like there is nothing wrong with me because the MRI came back normal and the fact that the police report doesn't have a speed of the car and the damage to my car was minimal. But the damage to my body was not.  I had a bruise on my left calf from my seat, my eyes were bloodshot and my own mother didn't recognize my vocie when I called her after the accident.   I found a Psychologist that does testing called the 'QEEG' it scans your brain and then a Neurologist goes over the data.  Mine came back with a TBI in the medium range, damage all the way to my white matter.  In the state of Washington this holds up in court.  See if you can get one of those scans.  Good Luck and blessings to you.

Are there any studies or information out there on people who had existing conditions and then have a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?  I have suffered from Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue off and on for years and since the accident most symptoms have come back. My Neurologist told me the reason it is taking so long to heal is because of my preexisting conditions. Tests show I have damage all the way to my white matter and my vision is blurry.

I also disagree with the assumption that because you had a mild TBI the pieces will fall into place again in just a short amount of time. I don't believe all injuries are the same regardless of what category you fall under. Impact, location, age, motion, position all play a role. Creating a perception that it will all eventually goes away creates a perception by the medical community that there is no TBI to treat because it doesn't linger on past a couple of years.    

I was in a terrible car accident May 9 2015. A 94 yr. Old man ran a red light and blew my car off the road. I never saw him coming and lost consciousness. I remember nothing from the accident. I too was diagnosed with TBI as well as a spinal cord injury. Prior to the accident I worked as a young vibrant paralegal at a very fast paced exciting company. It was anybody's dream job. I was a single mom with 2 young kid's & I was living & loving life. Now - I'm lucky if I can remember my own address on any given day. I have severe tremers. I scored significantly below normal on the neuropsych tests. I constantly fall in public but per the ENT I have very healthy ears and no indication of vertigo. No sign of temporal fracture or skull fracture, MRI'S are all normal, nothing abnormal on any of my xray or imagining. I suffer from horrible debilitating headaches. During the worst headaches I have acutely lost my vision . Once in august 2015 for 2 days and again in September 2015 for 2 days. Was hen the headache resolved my vision returned. My neuro ophthalmologist wrote me an RX for glasses even though a week prior he himself tested my vision and advised that it was 20/20. And 2 weeks later when my vision returned and he retested it was again 20/20. I also suffer from facial paralysis on the right side. And tingling 24/7 in my hands feet and directly down the center of my face. I have social anxiety, constant vomiting & nausea, insomnia but constant exhaustion. I am a nightmare to be around. I've list my job. My doctors are telling me that my symptoms are "psychosomatic " but even with my TBI I'm still an intelligent enough person to know that they are real. But like everyone else I'm fighting the insurance system& fighting the doctors. I can't find anybody that seems to know how to treat me or understands what I'm going through. I feel totally lost. My psychologist recommended a book called "I'll carry the fork" by kara Swanson. It's no longer in production & very difficult to find. You can find it on Amazon & some libraries have at least 1 copy. This author gets it. I think you guys will agree!

I was hit by an SUV while crossing a street several years ago.  The healthcare system is fragmented when it comes to treating mTBI - my husband and I were handed some info on "possible cognitive issues" when I was discharged 10 days later from the hospital.  That was it.  Some physicians don't treat it at all (my internist told me to "rest over the summer") while others tell you that even though your brain bled for two days in ICU, there "wasn't that much damage" according to the CT and MRI scans. 

Only one insurance in my area, BSCS, covered any kind of cognitive therapy and only two institutions provided that therapy.  Neuropsychologists make money off administering the exams, not providing the treatment, so I couldn't find a private neuropsych in my area to go see, plus I had to change insurance.  I live in one of the largest cities in the U.S., yet none of the major hospitals have a support group for mTBI patients.  I continue to have issues with cognitive fatigue, confusion, focusing, short term memory, multi-tasking, organization, eye tracking, depth perception, etc.  I work everyday on my issues and consider them "challenges" not "obstacles."  I will move this mountain of chaos called the healthcare system, one way or another!

We need to organize somehow in order to be taken seriously and have our voices heard.  Anyone who is interested in a grassroots campaign, leave a message on this board and let's see what we can do.  It only takes "one voice."

Mild traumatic brain injury from a car accident in 2013 - It's been a long and exhausting road since... My ex boyfriend of almost six years had left me a month after the accident had occurred. Shortly after, my best friend had moved away due to a new work opportunity that she had been given, across the country. Feeling alone and surely depressed, I am so greatful that I had been introduced to a new friend who was willing to sustain my irritability and constant mood swings. He is determined to help me get through the past and look towards a brighter future. Although things may never be the same after the accident, it is important to acknowledge the minor difficulties one might be experiencing, and work towards healing or overcoming those issues. As an example, I had gained well over twenty pounds from lack of exercise and terrible drinking habits that had followed after my accident. It became rather habitual to indulge my pain in alcohol and inevitably lead me to dive head first into an ocean of sorrow. When I had learned that something so simple as exercising would increase dopamine levels in my brain, I started getting "off" on working out. My eating habits had gotten increasingly better, and I had turned my difficulties i.e (forgetfulness, anger, frustration) into a challenge, rather than accepting them as a disability. I've learned to monitor my behavior, take pride in what I do, create strict schedules/routines, relax and enjoy life by indulging in the arts and meditation and so on and so forth. Life is worth living with or without any brain injury. When people react to my behavior or anxiety (due to the TBI) I am honest and straightforward in telling them my past, and it makes me feel good that I am also giving awareness to those who are unfamiliar with people who continually strive against their own TBI. To this day I still have set backs, and once in a blue moon I will find myself in a hopeless situation where no one can truly understand my pain, but I will continue to live my life as best as I can & I will fight every day to overcome obstacles and challenges that create barriers in my life. I will make efforts to see my loved ones because they are the ones who have been there for me (even when I couldn't care less if they were gone or not) I will open my heart and take my time to make things right. Everyone has a different story - DO NOT GIVE UP...you only live twice.

I am a 62 yr old woman RN who had a car accident Jan 6 2015 and had a mild brain injury with loss if conscience and hypersomelence for 6 weeks went to cognitive therapy and physical therapy it is July 2015 and I remain disabled and on antidepressants and Amandine I am glad to know I am not going crazy by reading others accounts of experiences sleep wake cycles disturbance anti social behavior depression no energy hot flashes no heat tolerance skin breakdown irritability excessive tired and these are not me I was happy easy going felt alive now I have mild Parkinson disease syndromes and no ability to be out and about socially it is real and what I do is not commit to anything not knowing how I will feel that day and thankful I am alive

I was diagnosed with TBI after a car accident in 2006.  It has been referred to as mild TBI since then.  I worked as a full time teacher until the accident and then could only work part time.  I pushed myself very hard because I loved my job and had to provide for my children as a single mom.  As I continued to work, my difficulties with information processing, memory, multi-tasking, executive functioning and extreme fatigue continued to worsen until, eventually, I was told by my doctors I needed to stop working.  As a teacher, I am not covered by SS and my private disability company denies benefits because they claim my speech difficulties, etc. are not a result of TBI even though I never experienced these difficulties before.  I know this is happening to so many of us.  I would love to have a group of us work together to get solid medical descriptions of TBI and better neuropsychological testing for TBI patients so that insurance companies (and everyone else) can take this physical condition more seriously.

It is comforting in knowing that there are people out there who understand.  Although my TBI occured 5 years ago I struggle with some things EVERY day.  My dream is to be an orthopedic surgery and I just graduated with my BS in Science, however it was a complete struggle having to retake classes that while I was sitting in lecture I understood everything I would study until I had cluster migraines from making myself remember it but when it came time for the exam I just couldn't recall what I was doing.  It didn't help much that the disability counselor was inconsiderate and apparently felt that I was a liar and she put me down, telling me that I should basically give up.  It made me not want to try and sometimes I just didn't even get out of bed because I felt like a failure even before I would start the day.  I doubt that I will get accepted to med school even though I did graduate, all because I wouldn't be considered "book smart".  Before my injury I would get an A without even cracking a book, so this a huge set back making me feel worse.  To top all of this off and feeling like I have failed not only myself, but my family and friends, I have pushed many of them away because I get sooooo angry all the time.  I can't explain why I get angry, sometimes its over nothing, it embarrasses me and again makes me feel worse.  I don't talk about it anymore because everyone thinks I am making it up and I just want to disappear.  Thank you all for sharing, just knowing I am not alone makes me want to keep going and hoping someday things will change.

As I read all of the posts, my heart breaks all over again. My Husband, age 36, sustainted a TBI/concussion after a car accident on April 1, 2014. It was a care accident where his car was struck on the passsenger side near the headlight. He blaked out for about 30 seconds. He was able to get out of the car and call me. I took him to the ER and he had a "normal" CT, and the report stated that he had a concussion. He was discharged.  Almost right away, I noticed that he was short tempered, but I thought it was because of the headache he was experiencing- and still does to this day. A few weeks after the accident, he would go into blind rages, turning bright red and screaming. He was unable to sleep for a very long time. For at least 3 months he was maybe sleeping two hours a night. Almost two months after, he told me that he was not in love with me, and wasn't for 3 years. The hardest part was no affection, no touching, no smiling, no interaction with our two boys who were 5 and 2 at the time.  Every night I sat in our room crying and feeling very alone. I was mourning my marriage, and my husband.  Some of our immediate family was understanding (his parents). My Mother and Sister thought he was lying and "faking it."  He had several friends before this accident, and a couple still bother with him. The others don't call or come around. My Husband had a career that he loved and was very successful at. He lost his job after his family medical leave act ran out.  He hasn't worked in almost a year. He cannot go back to his field because he is terrified to drive. My Husband was, before the accident, so confident, my rock- always reassuring me things would be ok when they went wrong. Now my husband has major depression. He cries all  the time, he cannot get into a car without an anti anxiety medicine.  Three months after the accident he had a seizure and fell face first onto the ceramic tile, landing on the same side he hit in the accident. He spent three days in the hospital and had an abnormal EEG. Almost every family duty falls on me now. I have to drive everywhere, I work and am terrified about losing my job.I have to pay the bills, make sure the boys are happy, and this has increased my anxiety a lot.  Our boys were affected by this. They tell me that they miss Daddy before, when he was fun and did things with them. They know daddy's brain is hurt.  My oldest will burst into tears if he remembers the things that they used to do, but cannot now. We cannot go to the movies, be in a crowd, or go to family functions without my husband hiding out somewhere quiet and by himself.

The thing that makes me most angry is that people have told me to "have my husband strap on a pair and get  back to work." I've fought for my husband the whole time this has been going on. It has made me with drawl from the non-understanding- if you cant see it, its not real- family. He still is symptomatic today- almost a year later.

God bless all of you on your journey...

Scrolling through the comments....and I don't feel so alone anymore. 8 months in...feeling hopeless.

I have a very similar TBI to the Brainiacs guy. Reading his comment made so much sense about my own TBI, which was diagnosed as a concussion after a car going 40-45 MPH without braking slammed into the passenger side of our legally turning car, totaling it. My head took pretty much the entire impact, which was on my right ear and temple. I had two CT scans at separate times, both of which came back normal. Have been diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome by my neurologist. Everybody lied and said I would be fine. I am anything but. :(

Also, I must contribute this:  My CAT and MRI did not show trauma to my brain. But more recently, I had a Triple Tessla MRI, which did show focal areas of T2 hyperintensities in the white subcortical matter of my left frontal lobe.

So if you are having difficulty proving with objective medical tests, try the3T MRI.

Dr. Arcineigas, speaking several years ago to the BIACconference, presented his research about the "MTBI" cases who did not get well, which was about9 percent, I think. He found they had something in common:  damage to a sensory gate related to sound. Symptoms to recognize this included that when there are alternating or competing sounds, the MTBI person may be unable to understand anyone. I am one of these people, and I have a smorgasbord of cog deficits. My point of impact was left side, and was a cous contracous, so my brainstem got a whacking back and forth also. But American Jurisprudence PROOF OF FACTs also includes mention that hitting near the eyesocket of the skull could be more serious than Mtbi."

I also have lack of impulse control, problems remembering what I hear (65% comprehension unless competing sounds, then 31%. Also abstract reasoning skills heavily damaged. Smell and taste impacted. Balance issues. Others.

I am also known as a "walk and talk," which means I was not in a coma or wheelchair, so I am going to be refused most services because, as you know, only people in wheelchairs are REALLY disabled. The rest of us are evidently liars.

I produce Brainiacs on www.denveropenmedia.org

As an RN and TBI survivor, I think the time has passed for the designation of mild, moderate and severe in TBI. You are either brain injured or not. I never lost consciousness; but the residual effects of my brain injury were severe enough to cause me to have to retire as an RN and secure disability to survive. Yet I was discharged from the ER and never had any kind of rehabilitation. Six years post injury (auto wreck), I still have some short term memory issues, memory processing problems, word finding difficulties and tasking issues that remain. Trying to pigeon hole survivors may be somewhat helpful for the medical profession (though how, I remain unsure). But it is not helpful to survivors. One cannot always define even a mild TBI by the exact symptoms. In my case, I wouldn't have even qualified as mild as I never lost consciousness; yet by TOTAL symptomology, my injury was moderate to severe on final MRI due to the diffuse nature of the brain damage.

My husband was struck on the head by a 1,200 pound dock door just a little over a year ago...He suffers with constant headaches and migraines, balance, dizziness, cognitive issues, short term memory loss, and a plethora of other things....we were just told at our last neuro appt "this is as good as it's going to get". He will most likely never be able to drive or work again. So Yes there are ppl who are considered mild to moderate TBI who do not fully recover.

Mild only refers to doctors assessment of initial impact Not to the on going problems a person has. What's the point of writing an article claiming "most" people recover? What is more important and helpful is identifying why a Significant "minority" plus Millions of unreported people are NOT recovering. What could be done to assist them? What lessons can be learnt to improve recovery rates? etc

Six months post-concussion from a slip on black ice and subsequent loss of consciousness after hitting side of head.  Continue to be plagued with horrible headaches, double vision, cognition difficulties, and vestibular issues.  I have Meniere's Disease on top of this.  No one seemed to take me seriously.  I looked okay but still feel like I am different person.  I can't remember names, phone numbers, feel like I have ADHD, and am exhausted. Have difficult with balance, vertigo, nausea, lights... get confused whereever I go.  Even have word finding difficulties especially under any stress.  Been receiving vestibular treatment which is helping a little.  Have also received nerve blocks in back of my head which help with headaches for about 10 days.  I feel very frustrated and just not myself.  Hope this won't be forever!

"Mild" in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury doesn't mean much. To me it would be like saying "Mildly"pregnant. i mean, you are either brain injured or you are not. I am and its no picnic.
Twenty years ago I was diagnosed as having a \'mild concussion\' (I had lost conciousness for a few moments also) when I was hit head-on (on) the drivers side. From the time of that concussion and continuing to this day I have had problems with anomic aphasia (speech and language), other issues with S&L, concentration, long and short term memory loss, PTSD (and something else with initials), am treated with daily medication to try to control the Complicated (or Complex) Migraines where I have stroke-like symptoms, my right side never regained the full strength of my arm or leg, I am Bi-polar but unable to take the medications because they work opposite on me, and more. A concussion is not \'mild\' when one immediately show signs of things that are different and the issues never go away, even if they improve to a certain point over the years. I think ALL who work in the medical field who would encounter people with TBI\'s and concussions need to be better informed and/or trained in relation to this health issue. AND TOO, when a doctor sees someone with a concussion, they should refer person go to a doctor who is THOROUGHLY TRAINED AND SPECIALIZES in TBI\'s, etc. (and)who works ALL THE TIME WITH helping those who have issues with brain injury whether through a Rehabilitation Hospital -or- their own office.
Long-term, even life long- effects from apparently "mild" TBI are very common. If you have any concussive symptoms like feeling dazed, you SHOULD go to the emergency room to document the injury. Otherwise, as deficiencies emerge, you will have no way to tie your symptoms to the event and, likely, no insurance coverage. In the immediate aftermath of a concussion (or sub-concussion), you and the lay people around you are in no position to know whether serious effects are likely. If the doctors try to brush you off, ask them to record your description of how you feel. I was too afraid of the charge of malingering to do this, so when the doctor said "You look fine to me," I just left, though I could not remember her name or my boss's name, the world was sort of swirling around me, I was having trouble finding words, and was generally in a daze. Big mistake!
I wish people where i work could understand what i go through. i would love to just shut down and recoop usually what i get is I need u to just do this. they dont understand that i dont function and perform at the same level i use to. But they expect me to. its been an up hill battle 2 years post car accident.
I'm 8 and a half years post "mild" brain injury and I still face my deficits every day. I lost a lot of: skills, personality, balance, cognition, and the list goes on. I gained: major clinical depression, anxiety, PTSD, 45 pounds from medication, inability to drive for more than a few hours, fatigue, low self-esteem, stumbling with words... But, my family and REAL friends have a newly gained respect for me as I bravely go thru each day trying to work thru the shortcomings. Some days, I just have to shut down and disappear to re-coop.