What Impact Will Moderate or Severe TBI Have on a Person's Life?

Mount Sinai Medical Center
What Impact Will Moderate or Severe TBI Have on a Person's Life?

What are the typical long-term effects?

In considering the long-term effects of TBI on the individual, it is most important to emphasize that there is no "typical" person with TBI. People who have experienced a TBI vary on many dimensions: 1) severity of initial injury; 2) rate and completeness of physiological healing; 3) types of functions affected; 4) meaning of dysfunction in the individual's life, in the context of his/her roles, values, and goals; 5) resources available to aid recovery of function; and so forth. Thus, the most important point to emphasize is that the consequences will be different for each individual injured.

In discussing possible effects of TBI, the immediate physiological recovery (which may continue over months and years) was discussed in a prior question. When the moderately or severely injured person has completed this initial recovery, the long-term functional deficits associated with TBI come to the fore. What areas of functioning may be affected by injury to the brain? Any or all of the functions the brain controls may be impacted. However, given that individuals differ greatly in their response to injury, any specific individual may experience only one, a few, or most of the possible effects. Further, a change in any of the possible areas of dysfunction, if it occurs at all, will vary in intensity across individuals - from very subtle to moderate to life threatening.

It is important to be aware also that not all functions of the individual are impacted by TBI. For example, feelings toward family, long-term memories, the ability to ski or cook, one's knowledge of the world, and so forth - all may be intact, along with numerous other characteristics of an individual, even one who has experienced a moderate to severe injury.

The possible long-term effects of moderate-to-severe brain injury are discussed in the following three questions.

How are thinking and other aspects of cognition affected?

Individuals with a moderate-to-severe brain injury most typically experience problems in basic cognitive skills: sustaining attention, concentrating on tasks at hand, and remembering newly learned material. They may think slowly, speak slowly, and solve problems slowly. They may become confused easily when normal routines are changed or when the stimulation level from the environment exceeds their threshold. They may persevere at tasks too long, being unable to switch to a different tactic or a new task when encountering difficulties. Or, on the other hand, they may jump at the first "solution" they see, substituting impulsive responses for considered actions. They may be unable to go beyond a concrete appreciation of situations, to find abstract principles that are necessary to carry learning into new situations. Their speech and language may be impaired: word-finding problems, understanding the language of others, and the like.

A major class of cognitive abilities that may be affected by TBI is referred to as executive functions - the complex processing of large amounts of intricate information that we need to function creatively, competently and independently as beings in a complex world. Thus, after injury, individuals with TBI may be unable to function well in their social roles because of difficulty in planning ahead, in keeping track of time, in coordinating complex events, in making decisions based on broad input, in adapting to changes in life, and in otherwise "being the executive" in one's own life.

With appropriate training and other supports, the person may be able to learn to compensate for some of these cognitive difficulties.

The TBI Research Center at Mount Sinai is conducting research to help people with TBI who experience cognitive difficulties. Descriptions of these studies are found at Rehabilitation Trials.

How are mood and behavior affected?

With TBI, the systems in the brain that control our social-emotional lives often are damaged. The consequences for the individual and for his or her significant others may be very difficult, as these changes may imply to them that "the person who once was" is "no longer there." Thus, personality can be substantially or subtly modified following injury. The person who was once an optimist may now be depressed. The previously tactful and socially skilled negotiator may now be blurting comments that embarrass those around him/her. The person may also be characterized by a variety of other behaviors: dependent behaviors, emotional swings, lack of motivation, irritability, aggression, lethargy, being very uninhibited, and/or being unable to modify behavior to fit varying situations.

A very important change that affects many people with TBI is referred to as denial (or, lack of awareness): The person becomes unable to compare post-injury behavior and abilities with pre-injury behavior and abilities. For these individuals, the effects of TBI are, for whatever reason, simply not perceived - whether for emotional reasons, as a means of avoiding the pain of fully facing the consequences of injury, or for neurological reasons, in which brain damage itself limits the individual's ability to step back, compare, evaluate differences, and reach a conclusion based on that process.

With appropriate training, therapy, and other supports, the person may be able to reduce the impact of some of these emotional and behavioral difficulties.

The TBI Research Center at Mount Sinai is conducting research to help people with TBI who experience depression and other mood disturbances. Descriptions of these studies are found at Rehabilitation Trials.

What other changes are likely after moderate/severe TBI?

Any of the ways we have of sensing/perceiving may be affected by TBI. Vision may be affected in many ways: loss of vision, blurred visual images, inability to track visual material, loss of parts of the field of vision, reduced depth perception, and sometimes disconnection between visual perception and visual comprehension, so that the person does not know what he or she is seeing. Changes also may occur in the senses of hearing, smell, taste, and touch; the individual may become overly sensitive or insensitive. Further, the person may have difficulty sensing the location of his/her own body in space. Other individuals with TBI may have recurring problems with balance, vertigo, and ringing in the ears.

A relatively small percent of individuals with TBI experience seizures. For most of these, the initial onset of seizures occurs soon after injury. For others, the onset may take place up to several years post-injury. Two types of seizures may occur. Major motor seizures refer to what were once called grand mal seizures and involve loss of consciousness and vigorous, uncontrolled movement of the major muscle systems. Local motor seizures do not lead to loss of consciousness and involve less muscle movement. Some individuals with TBI use anticonvulsive drugs to prevent seizures or stop them during the course of a seizure.

If motor areas of the brain are damaged, the person with TBI may experience varying degrees of physical paralysis or spasticity, affecting a wide variety of behavior from speech production to walking. Damage to brain tissue can also evidence itself in chronic pain, including headaches. Also, evidence is growing that hormonal, endocrine, and other body systems are affected by the brain injury. Consequently, the individual may lose control of bowel and bladder functions, may sleep poorly, may fatigue easily, may lose appetite for food or be unable to control eating, and/or may be unable to regulate body temperature within normal boundaries. Women with TBI often experience menstrual difficulties. Some of our research on post-TBI health and medical issues is discussed in TBI Consumer Report No. 1.

The TBI Research Center at Mount Sinai is conducting research to help people with TBI who experience fatigue. A description of this study is found at Rehabilitation Trials.

Why are we poor at predicting outcome?

The severity of the injury and the resulting direct effects on the individual's body systems may not predict the amount of impact in a person's life. This follows, first and foremost, because each of us draws in different ways on differing parts of our brains. For example, a severe injury to the frontal brain area may have less impact on an agricultural worker's job performance than a relatively mild frontal injury would have on a physicist's work. In sum, the meaning of the various patterns of injury and the associated changes in any person's life will depend on preinjury lifestyle, personality, goals, values, resources, as well as the individual's ability to adapt to changes and to learn techniques for minimizing the effects of brain injury.

We know in general that the variability of patterns of change associated with brain injury are shaped by many factors: the severity of injury and age at injury, time in coma, time since injury, length of PTA, the resources and services available to the injured person, the barriers met or advantages offered within different social contexts, the social and role demands that exist within the individual's life, and so on. How these factors work, in what ways, and how often is not clear. We know that TBI hits people differently, but have less knowledge of the number of people that experience various types of consequences and the specific factors affecting this.

What can I do to help the process of recovery?

Immediately after injury, friends and family who want to help should focus on insuring that the injured person receives medical care that will minimize the effects of injury. This usually means that the person should be receiving care in a medical center that specializes in trauma care. This topic is covered more fully in another question, What Is the Course of Treatment for Those with Moderate/Severe TBI?

Once issues of life-and-death have been addressed, the person's functioning as a cognitive, emotional, and social entity comes to the fore. The individual is faced with many or a few of the possible changes described in preceding questions.

It has been suggested (by Kay and Lezak in 1990) that "recovery" is a misnomer and that "improvement" better describes what happens in the long run after TBI. The word recovery may, inappropriately, suggest that the effects of TBI will disappear, similar to symptoms vanishing when we recover from a cold. With TBI, some of the effects may truly dissipate after one year, two years, or more, but more frequently these long-term changes linger on, subtly or not so subtly, changing only slowly, if at all, over the life course.

What must be kept in mind at all times is that impairments that are due to injury of brain tissue can be helped through reeducation of the individual and through modification of the environment. Thus, for example, although the brain circuits involved in memory may never function in the ways and at the levels found before injury, remembering (a necessary skill in day-to-day life) may be improved by the individual's learning compensatory skills, such as using a daily diary to remember appointments, and by adjusting parts of the environment (alarm clocks, computer reminder programs, and family members) to jog memory.

The boundary of improvement is set by the individual's ability to learn new ways of doing things or to relearn formerly familiar skills. Since the brain mediates all learning and the brain is damaged, learning is often slow and/or incomplete.

The major role for friends and family at this stage of recovery is to help find resources that will help the injured person in addressing emotional, cognitive, physical, and behavioral challenges.

Some individuals with TBI largely move away from the notion of "recovering" the pre-injury self. They reach a point, instead, when they view the losses/changes/deficits as "simple facts" or even "opportunities." For these people, terms such as "devastation" and "loss" get redefined and no longer are seen as applying to them. Their injury has let them see other possibilities for their lives than what they saw before injury. These possibilities may be just as (or more) satisfying to the person with TBI than what was "in store" for them prior to injury.

Posted on BrainLine July 25, 2008.

From Mount Sinai Medical Center. www.mssm.edu.

Comments (274)

I would agree with you to a point. Recovery will be different for each individual depending on how bad the survivor wants to get well and what he is willing to try. I suffered severe TBI at 15. Now at 57 I can finally realize some relief of the nagging spasticity by working out correctly.The solution was grit , an inversion table and forcing my limbs into certain yoga poses.

All my recovery is something you guys should take note of and repeat. It is SO SIMPLE

I was recently diagnosed with TBI from accident where I was run over by a truck forty years ago. I really wasn't aware of any TBI symptoms until about three years ago. I now feel dizzy all the time and have difficulty with being motivated. I also experience difficulty with sleeping and have night terrors. Has any one else experienced TBI symptoms years later?

What about nutrition to help the TBI patient?

I was in a car accident at the of 12 and had one seizure right after my TBI. I was seizure meds. A few but never had any I’ve been seizure free for almost a decade and then at the of of 22 I start having terrible migraines and pressure around my metal plate and that lasted a whole week with vomiting as welll. Then a as it hit a full week with my headaches and vomiting I was starting to have seizures and was admitted to the hospital. Why would this happen if I have been fine and normal for the past 9-10 years since my accident?

I would love to see a brain scan on myself.

* When I was about 2 a kid threw a rock and hit me in the forehead -- I had to have stitches.
* When I was 4 I feel out of a tree from about 8-10 feet up and landed on my head. I thought I was going to die. My parents never took me to the doctor.
* When I was about 5-6- or 7 playing back yard base ball I was at least once hit in the face with the ball - hit in the head at least once with the bat ( no helmet ).
* When I was in 2nd grade I was walking home and got into a fight with kids and was hit smack in the face with a base ball sized rock got a bloody nose.
* When I was in 4th grade I feel out of a hay loft ( approx 12-15 feet ) landed hands and head first on concrete - broke both arms and had a concussion -- I was unconscious for at least 30 seconds to maybe 2 minutes.

I am a terrible student and do terrible on tests yet when ever I talk to people they always think I am so smart in conversation.


I was employed with Dept. Education as a TA. In 2017 I fell back striking my head at work. I was off for almost 2 years before trying to go back which I quickly realized was a pointless endeavor .... I was cranky, constantly exhausted, unable to carry out daily activities or remember simple chores, not a trace of my former self. My life has changed in so many ways ... it was difficult to find anything concrete in the rehabilitation process words like "possibly", "should be able to" but "in the event of " etc. etc . which I understood there were far too many grey eras and the complications of such misfortune, fortified with the minutest care from compensation they're inability to understand or possess compassion on the related subject became the very hallmark of confusion and self-doubt that have become my identity today .... So please for the love of God no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time never ignore any kind of head trauma and know the signs and protocol of concussion ...

My Father had a TBI ten years ago. He recovered the best he could and it is amazing how much he has recovered. My question is that he is now in his mid 60's I have noticed that he is almost regressing back in his abilities and behaviour. Is this normal and will it continue?

What our doctor said is that people can have a TBI but as they reach 50''s or later will seem to regress because of the chemical changes of the brain after age 50. Changes happen every 8 years (less or more)

Your Father's brain sounds to be going through a chemical change of the brain.

I have had grand mal seizures since I was 10. I am 53 now. My mom told me when I came home one day from school in 7th grade that the school called and told her that they had taught me all they could and that I couldn't come back to school because I had learned all that I could. now I'm wanting to get my GED how do I go about getting that?

I suffered a tbi when I was 4 years old. I always had some problems and was a slow learner until about the 4th grade. In high school I catered my classes toward what I knew I could do. I was able to complete college and work. I had difficulty in some of my jobs getting along with others, but, was able to maintain employment until I hit the age of about 52, then I started having seizures. At first it seemed like I had developing Alzheimer, but, after arguing with my doctor for three years to do test on my brain to find out what was going on (she thought I needed a psychiatrist), she finally sent in for a MRI, which showed nothing. And she sent me in for an EEG, which showed that I was having Partial Seizures. I ended up switching doctor's. I am still having difficulties. After doing research I realize I am having what is called Simple Partial Seizures. They effect the frontal lobe of my brain on the left side. I never had seizures until after hitting the age of 50 and I think it is because the chemicals in the brain changes. After trial and error with my new doctor we have come to understand that any type of medication that effects the brain causes me to have seizures. I took an antidepressant for about 15 years, but, once coming off of the antidepressant my seizures became less and so did the symptoms I was having. I have some physical conditions including Ankylosing Spondylitis, Osteoarthritis, and Fibromyalgia. I cannot take any type of pain medication because the seizures start back up and the symptoms and severe headaches return. I have tried cymbolta and lyrica and I cannot take either of those medications. I cannot even take Ibuprofen. I suffer severe depression and I cannot take any kind of antidepressants either. Life is very difficult for me right now and I am at a loss for how to deal with all these issues. My doctor has tried me on quit a few medications, but, within a few weeks the severe migraines (on the front left side of my brain) return. I am at a total loss of what to do right now. I pretty much live as a recluse and avoid being around people. My moods switch at the drop of a hat, with anger outbursts fairly common. All I know is that this is not a way to live a life.

Hi there ..Sorry to hear your father is showing these symptoms. It is Extremely Scary for me to read your post, as I was looking for some kind of answers or explanation to my recent problems. You see , I am a product of the 80's and the early 80's at that , where there were no seat belts in vehicles ...or airbags ..and damn sure were no bicycle helments worn and there was BiG HuGE Billboard signs all up and down the interstates advertising The Marlboro Man as a "Hero" of some kind. By the time i was 24 yrs old i had suffered from 5 "mild" concussions (lost contentiousness) and 1 more severe brain injury . All of these were a result of a childhood "backyard" football accident (no pads ofcourse) , bicycle crash into parked car , fell off of a 15ft diving platform ...etc. with the last and most severe was in 1998 when i jumped my racing 4wheeler with no helmet and was traveling more than 60mph when i hit the ground head first. I was in a coma for a week or so, broke neck bones and back bones, collar bone , both wrists ...blahblah...blahblah etc. I made an Excellent physical recovery from that in 2 years time and actually picked up power lifting to some degree of success. But my mental improvement was just "ok" and i always have had emotional sensitivity problems such as crying and depression.. to paranoia of who was out to get me when i hear people riding past my home and coming to a stop at the stop sign. My memory is crap ! , short term and in terms of years passing with no concept of how long it actually may have been and thinking it was a year ago when it was actually 3 years passed. I could go on with my issues ....but for anyone who just meets me in passing or doesnt know me Extremely Well (my family) ...They may say im a good looking man who is very nice ,respectful and polite and would Not suspect a thing is wrong with me. Anyway ! .... the reason i am typing this reply is because ...now i am in my early 40's and recently since 1 particular party back in the summer (June 2017) i was at with my wife ...got into a verbal altercation with her cousin ..in which He initiated , I have noticed that I have completely alienated myself from people near me , My vocabulary and word recall , spelling and speech have suffered tremendously , my punctual job performance has suffered , the things i did like before this summer i nolonger like (tv shows, music, food , hobbies in my routine) and my personalty overall has completely changed to where i barely say a word anymore. I know this is all due to the accidents in my early childhood into my twenties . This 1 incident (30 seconds of cussing) at that party has triggered the lingering effects of those early accidents combined and i am now scared to death of getting older in my current state and speed of mental decline. I cant imagine what its going to be like if i live to be 60 yrs old and i pray for you and your father . I just wonder if something triggered his recent symptoms also .

Can you please let me know if you found any help or answers to your TBI? I need help. I'm going through a similar situation. I had a severe concussion at 13... now 48. I'm noticing a lot of changes in me in 1yr. My memory has never been good at all since the concussion.

I have a history of TBI. I'm 40 now and I'm going to try mHBOT. I've seen good results reported. I'm waiting to get initial scans to compare to post therapy.

I had a fall in 2006 and was in an induced coma for 10 days with front lobe injuries. While friends and family say that they do not see a difference in me, I notice that I have not been able to settle

I wanted to chime in, I had a severe TBI April 2010 and have since recovered but somethings have not. 2 main ones are the motor skills with my right side of my body - arm, hand, leg, and facial emotion is off vs. the left. The other is that I lack emotions to things. Nothing really 'affects' me anymore. I feel fine, but these are the long term lingering things. I was told I only survived due to my fitness but I'm not the same now, and truly can't be. I thought over time Id return to my old self but have lost hope there of being able to play basketball (play well) again. Is this normal or do other have this?

I had a severe head injury; I can't remember what happened to me. I was in Berlin and after feeling fine for 6 days I was then injured and woke up in the Charite Hospital where none of the nurses spoke English. Apparently I had amnesia, but I am not sure whether it was really amnesia or the ability to understand where I was and that no-one spoke English. Needless to say it took me 2 years to really feel like myself again. But I am not certain now, 9 years later, if I still have any effects. I was told by the near-psychiatrist who treated me in the brain trauma unit at the hospital I went to in my home city that my injury was worse than anything the hockey player Sid Crosby had experienced. That made me feel far worse and worried about my future.

August 24 2017 fell over backwards hit back of head.airflighted. tremendous bump came up gone in less than 5 minutes. New right then in bad trouble. Air flighted to Fort sam San Antonio texas.36 hours in icu.just now realizing have short term memory loss. Severe fatigue. Pain all over except head area. Balance problems.reading these postings realize could have been lot worse.doctors said at my age 80 percent people don't survive.i am 65.God Bless all of you the ones that survive doctors say God has further plans for us in future.hope all of you get better

thank you. very accurate. best description I've read yet .

I just want to say thank you for this information. Everything that was stated is 100% correct. Thank you for this

My TBI happened when I was 9. I fell two stories from a beach tree and my head hit a lot of branches on my way to the ground. I had a busted ear drum from a stick jammed into my ear as well as two cracks in my skull and 4 bruises on my brain. I’m in my mid 40s now and have suffered from depression and anxiety and I learn things at a slower rate . I was born prematurely and already had cognitive and visual difficulties, so it’s difficult to know what has caused things later in life. I was recently diagnosed with Gastroparesis. That causes your food not to fully empty from the stomach and creates a whole new list of issues. I have hearing loss in both ears, and constant ringing that was not present after the fall. I did make a full recovery and did not go into a coma because my dad had the job of pinching the nerve on my upper arm when my vitals would begin to slow. I developed type 2 diabetes in 06. With what I’ve read I’m wondering if these medical problems are somehow linked. I’m seeing my neurologist this week and this has given me ideas on what to ask her. I hope all of you are able to find answers, and some relief. Thank you.

I suffered a traumatic subdural hematoma by hitting my head at work 2 weeks ago. I thought I had the flu until I went to the emergency room and was admitted to ICU. My whole life was turned upside down: speech, mobility, sleep, everything was affected. I went almost 3 months no pay or income so I forced myself to go back to work. How else would I eat or take care of my family? My body said no but I had no choice. I've gotten stronger and better but I've had constant head pain in my head since day 1. The doctors can't tell me if they will ever go away. At the beginning, I was told don't think or stress it could be bad for recovery. Something I never experienced my whole life until after receiving this injury. I now know what stress is. Sorry to all that I have told get over it. You can't change it. Yes, it's hard to not have control of my feelings emotions. My boss is stressing the "you-know-what" out of me. I look normal. If you don't know me it's hard to see the pain or changes in me. I've noticed him stressing me out and putting pressure on me makes my head hurt even more.

I don't know what to do but I feel this isn't good for me. Could this stress be hurting my recovery????

I need help in every way possible. It's almost 1 year (November) and I haven't wanted to go anywhere. My social life is not and I react differently to things that normally would not bother me


Any replies or help would be appreciated. Thanks

I had a flu shot at work and collapsed 30 minutes later smashing the back of my head on concrete. That was 9 years ago now and I don't know how I made it through the first 4 years after that. I had anxiety, fatigue, weird sensations in my head but had to go to work. Even though I'm not 100% to this day the one thing that allowed me to 'escape' was running on a regular basis. If you are able to I would give it a try. Took me awhile but I usually do 5 km runs, three times a week.......life saver.

Have you had your teeth checked lately by a dentist? It’s a long shot, but I had to have some teeth pulled after my severe TBI since they were jammed into my jaw from the auto accident I was in. Was having severe headaches from the teeth- basically migraines.
Allergies, hormone imbalances,sinus infections, incorrect eyeglass prescription, and thyroid under activity have been some things that have also caused me to have headaches post TBI.
I read/heard somewhere that squeezing the part of your hand between your thumb and first finger (middle of webbed part)can help with headaches.
For years I took Ibuprofen when needed.
Hope you found some relief.

I know exactly what your dealing with. I was involved in a horrible car accident in March of 2017 and life has not been the same. Fogginess in the head, blurry vision, my body has never felt the same since. After Christmas I am going back to the doctors and see what else they can do. It sucks!

I also had TBI Christmas Eve 2016. I understand how hard it has been for you. I'm an electrical engineer, past international business owner and general contractor. Like you stated, it seems like the entire accident was very much made more difficult because of stress and money. I went to work in 78 days after accident, when I was in the hospital for over 50 days. All I can say is that I sincerely hope things get easier for you. Life is so short, and with everything we have, let's try with all we got to embrace it. God's speed Brother.

What may I ask helps you when you are going through all these feelings? Have you tried yoga just for yourself to find a peaceful place that you can control and relax yourself. I’m learning as much as I can about brain injuries as my best friend is suffering memory loss and trauma to his head from an accident and the more research I have done about helping cope with everything and it’s so important your support system provides you with new opportunities now don’t look at the past because this is a new you and there isn’t anything wrong with that. There is so much people don’t understand about how your feeling and I suffer from memory loss from MS and seizures- i have to set alarms for appointments on my phone every week, i have a calendar plus daily planner with appointments highlighted, i learned how to mediate to take the edge off because I’m frustrated when no one understands how I forgot about something yesterday or last month and I started painting which allows me to express myself and no one can take that from me. I can’t say I will ever understand what anyone is going thru because everyone has their own emotions and feelings but it’s ok to express how your feeling and you have to keep positive people in your life only.

Hi Tiffany. I understand how your feeling. I also have M.S. And having memory loss. I was diagnosed 22 years ago. 3 years ago my husband fell and hit the back of his head. He had an MRI. Nothing showed up. He is now having memory loss and anxiety. I feel bad because he wants to retire but he keeps working so we have medical and prescription coverage. I will be praying things get better for you and your friend. Take care.

Is hearing things and seeing strobe like lights things experienced by patients who had TBI of the brain stem? During rehab therapy, reading gave me a mild headache. What neurology specialist should I follow up with?

I have a friend that had brain surgery and almost died from being hit by a car at a young age but i care so much about him. i need some information to help him. i can tell alot of changes every time i talk or see him.

When I was 3 years old my mom and I were involved in an MVA. I was asleep on the seat (this occurred in the early 1970's). Long story short, my mom had whiplash, I was in a coma for 3 days. From what I've been told, the doctor's weren't sure that I would wake up.
I had heard that I had to relearn everything.
Now I'm 47 years old, and I suffer from bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, and PTSD.
My dad says that I've been "off" in a sense since the accident.
Maybe that would also explain why I've been married 5 times already.

At 36 I was completely disabled by a Severe TBI at 16. I was athletic, educated with a nice job. I have, after 4 years finally reached the "disconnect" stage and holy shit is it punishing. Im on 4 anti seizure medications, still having seizures and have become a Type 1 Diabetic now(?) assumed to be due to the brain damage. I have almost no interest in my "past life" and am not really sure I even remember it!!! TV, talking about day to day events with people is now a "task". The I go home sit in the yard with my cat, the birds, the squirrels and relax, usually have a nice cry alone. What a change in 4 years and must have sucked for everyone to watch, no golfing, hiking, seizures, nothing to talk about that can cry at the sight of a butterfly!!! I was a chainsaw operating, tree falling athletic guy that grew up playing Canadian National Baseball as a kid. I feel free and completely restrained at the same time, no time, short term memories but can sing a thousand songs and read a book in an hour. I have had to tell friends "I just can't be around you anymore" and yikes the terrible feeling and looks you get. Ahhhhh always wear a helmet or your seat belt or this could be you.

So thankfull someone else feels the same!

I received a TBI in 2005 from a serious car accident that almost took my life. Unfortunately I was driving & not wearing my seat belt. Loss control of car & hit a tree. My head hit steering wheel knocking me unconsience . I suffered many broken bones & crushed femur. I was under ventilation for days & knew none of my family for weeks. I loss much of my memory & lots of what I had learned. 12 years later & dealing with my TBI daily due to my memory loss. I was in a neuro rehab facility for months. Persons with TBI change to a different person once received & must be strong & willing to deal with the new person they are.

So glad i found this site, I thought i was the only one going through this hell.  Back in 2005 my horse and i stumbled coming around the third bend and found a spot of mud, I was not wearing a helmet and experienced my first KO.  Which brought along a full blown TIA a few weeks latter.  

At the end of 2005 the same horse ran me into a tree at full gallop.  Cannot tell you anything of the real world for 7 days.  Woke up to 18 inches of metal in the right arm.  Right leg one inch shorter than the left and could not remember the year date and so on.

For 12 years i have fought the symptoms everyone here has described here.  However recently they have overwhelmed me i cannot handle any out side pressure without having a terrible headache with the lose of vision.  Frustration abounds.  I honestly thought i would make it back to the man i was before, i now know i have to admit that will never happen.

Do no know who i will be but knowing i am not alone helps.

Thank you, all, for sharing. Mine happened in Oct 1977. Hit by car. Crushed my pelvic bone & broke my femur. Pin drilled through calf to put leg in traction. Two wks in coma. Half body cast.Three months in the hospital. No rehab, only some physical for my leg.  Reality is a blur. Life... is precious. Flowers bloom in the cracks of my heart. Fire refining, moment by moment... Crying out, my soul is comforted of God. Yielding to the lonely echo of my voice, it warmly comes back to me, He is. Love..

AC april 17- 19- 2017 your comment is remarkable.  We have been chosen or selected as odd as it seems.. Anger is of NO use what so ever.  Live every day,

I am awaiting my MRI of my optic nerves and my brain.  I was assaulted at work, I worked in a maximum psych hospital.  not any more. I am anxious to hear of my results and hope for the best.  I admit, i have been ALTERED. for lack of a better word.  The world is a different place, loud noises, attention disorder etc.. and it will be two years this september that I had my first concussion, and november of this year for my second concussion which resulted in my TBI.  Some PT but it just takes time,, and energy,, keep busy,, do stuff, exercise walk, lift weights, yard work etc,,, don't get hurt again and life as long as possible...
this forum is great,, good luck everyone,,,

Fifteen years ago, I was involved in a serious accident on the way to work. I was unconscious for nearly an hour. When I reached the hospital, my wife was told I was being moved to another hospital due to the severity of my injuries. Ten or so days after the accident, my wife explained the injuries to me. To this day, I'm not sure if I knew how serious they were. Most of the damage was to my head. I had a fist sized fracture to the skull above my left eye, and it was causing major concern. The break continued down my eye orbital socket, under my left eye, thru my lower jaw bone. The lower jaw bone had pierced thru the skin. Later, I found out that my nose and both TM joints had multiple breaks, as well as my right orbital socket. To this day, I remember almost nothing. If I do think I remember something, I'm not even sure if it's a factual memory or not. After about 4 months, I had to try and return to work, otherwise we would lose everything. On my way to work one day, I suffered a partial complex seizure. Once I came around, I nearly rear ended a young lady and her infant child in the back seat. I had just enough clarity to avoid the vehicle, but didn't understand what was happening to me. For 2 weeks prior to the close call, I was complaining of a foul taste and smell to my oral maxillofacial surgeon. A week or so later, I was referred to a neurosurgeon and neurologist. After some simple tests in the office, I realized I no longer had the sense of smell. So, more tests followed. Eventually I was diagnosed with seizure activity. Then, the seizure meds followed. It took nearly 3 years and a multitude of med mixing to find what worked for me. It helped with the seizures, but I had no life outside the home. I was sleeping 12-14 hrs a day, and had no appetite at all. The weight was dropping off rapidly. I tried to force the food down, but no luck. While all this was happening, my PTSD/survivor remorse was in full swing. I tried many antidepressants, and found one which seem to be helping. About a month on the AD drug, I started to hallucinate, and became suicidal. After repeated attempts, I realized I needed help, and lots of it. Fast forward to May 2017, 4 medical reconstruction and 3 dental surgeries later, I'm still here. Over the last 18 months, I've noticed my cognitive/mental abilities are deteriorating. I'm getting fed up with the usual response, "You look fine". It's so far from the truth, I get angry. I've read so many other stories, and I feel like it is an autobiography. All this has nearly ended my marriage of 25 years. I'm thankful for the first time, I don't have children. It's hard on her, and I'm not sure it's fair for her to be stuck in my mess. To the people who say, "Oh, you look fine.", please educate yourself before comments like that. The internal struggle in TBI patients is very REAL. No, I'm not an idiot, or using it as a way out. I excelled in sports and academics my whole life. I was labeled a workaholic, and had a photographic memory. Now, I'm lucky if I can piece together the previous day. Don't judge until you know the facts. CTE and closely related problems are real.

Good evening, my name is Gilbert and I'll be as clear and concise as possible. I just turned 34 years old at midnight tonight, I'm male and live independently, so a lot has been on my mind. I was hit by a car when I was about 3-4 years old, which was back in 1987. The car must've been traveling about 20-25 miles per hour and I was wandering in the street when this happened. Anyhow, I can still see the indentation on my forehead from that injury although I don't believe I received the proper care for rehabilitation. I've now experienced that I suffer from alcoholism and maybe I am just an alcoholic or not, but I've always felt that the injury created the impulsive person that I've become today. I'm very emotional, I find it difficult to concentrate for periods of time, I've had temper tantrums in my previous relationship with my ex-girlfriend, etc. Is it possible that this brain injury is still affecting me 30 years later? I'm looking for guidance as to where to look for help. I'm tired of being this way and feel that I deserve a higher quality of life. My first instinct has been to locate the records of my traumatic brain injury from 1987, but I suppose that would be more for my own self justification purposes but then again, I'd like to have evidence for whomever may question me. I'm aware no one can give medical advice but, what is it that was suggested to you to have done? I was thinking an adult neuropsychological examination and x-rays may reveal if things have returned to "normal" or not. I just simply don't know what to do, any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, goodnight. 

You can request a EEG in order for the doctor to determine if your brain is working properly.

I am in month 5 of this nightmare. I get easily frustrated when i try to do the things i once never even thought about. It has been really hard and i feel so alone at times. I try to explain to people but they just don't get it. My struggle is real and i keep fighting. My thoughts go out to those in my shoes. Have a TBI really sucks.

Starting with unusual symptoms like vision, balance, headaches, and difficulty swallowing, etc. I was encouraged by my awesome wife to get chef out, basic tests were negative, so a scan was done CT, revealing a tumor. Fast forward to the surgery, a craniotomy through the ear/sinus area, 5 days of hospital stay, and first day home suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage, rushed back to hospital for a ventriculostomy. Coma for 10 days, woke up to excruciating pain, to discover a metal catheter was located into my midbrain to relieve blood pooling and pressure. Hospital stay at brain trauma institute for 6 weeks. Released to home care, out of work for over three months. Upon my return to work as an Arborist. I was determined to convince people that I was able to continue in my profession of 25 years. Things became increasingly difficult, as dizziness, chronic fatigue, headaches, and questionable mental processing were daily struggles. Suffered a TBI after a blackout episode in my bathroom, hitting my head on the cast iron bathtub, breaking the hot water stem. Woke to my wife screaming and blood everywhere, yet another ambulance ride and a few more days in the hospital.

And then the real troubles began, I was not able to sleep for over a month, depression, anxiety, intercranial pressure and fighting to prove my way back into the workplace, proved to be overwhelming. A team of good Dr's, my personal care physician, a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, a neuropsychiatric specialist all worked together to form a formal diagnosis and treatment plan.  After more lengthy tests and medications, I was able to start sleeping again, what a joyful thing! 

Since then, my journey was one stumbling block after another, as I was becoming more aware of my accumulated deficits, and how they were affecting my day to day struggles, interpersonal work relationships, trust, critical thinking, organizational, strategic, multitasking, creative, improvisational, etc. As the years past, somehow, I was able to blend in enough to keep the focus off of me and my struggles. 

Just recently, I have retired from my job after 32 years, after continuing my treatments and a neuropsychological exam, which revealed what we suspected, severe and permanent damage to 3 areas of my brain were limiting my abilities, and were increasingly affecting my performance and workplace relationships. 

While this may seem like a lot of setbacks, I am grateful for all the incredible caregivers, especially my wife, for their sincere and professional talents, who not only saved my life, but have kept us on the ongoing road to recovery, while my life will never be what it used to be. Learning to live a simpler, less stressful life has been a welcome learning experience for me, after a life of being a type A, competitive, strongwilled, driven person, although most would say the adjustment hasn't been exactly smooth. Stay blessed all of you.

This has really been helpful. I would love to speak to you in person to get some tips. I experienced a Subdurral hemorrage in 2016 and I am recovering well but there are some days I need to hear from someone who has been through it.

I suffered two SAH in 2009 that healed over, only to discover I had 5 cerebral aneurysms the following year. I required two craniotomies to clip three of the aneurysms and I have a lot of difficulty with memory, head pain, overall body pain, visual disturbances, Executive function, balance, ringing/swooshing in the ears, temperature regulation, and emotional difficulties.

Had arterial venous malformation rupture right hemisphere 1980. My company forced me to retire. I had my family but I met a beautiful woman that was willing to put up with a brain damage man that has no short-term memory. Today is our 28th wedding anniversary. We have two beautiful children. We have two beautiful grandchildren. Because of my wife I have a beautiful life. All I do is get up in the morning and tell myself shut up listen to your wife her name is Rosemary as long as I do that I'm sure my life will turn out wonderful.

Help anybody else that has had a TBI find some wonderful partner who is willing to understand and love them. That's my anniversary wish for you all. No matter how bad you feel or how gloomy your circumstances there's a silver lining out there for you all. Have a great day. I love every one of you.

It's been 10 years or so and I'm still hurting. It seems like more and more stuff is going wrong with me (or i'm just now becoming more aware of it) and it traces back to my TBI.

I fell 25 feet on my job in 2008. I fractured my skull in 4 places. In the last 2 years,my speech is really bad, my memory is going pretty fast. It really has been hard, people look at me and think "oh he looks good etc" but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I pray no one else ever has to go through it.

Happened to click on this site. Previously, I was quite an avid contributor. Fabulous web site. For a person who has sustained a TBI, persistence is a requirement. Frustration is a frequent companion as this tumultuous crisis has overtaken your world. First and foremost, you must come to terms with yourself and mind. A drastic change has occurred in life for you.You must come to terms with such. Anger is of no use. None what so ever, one would think but a deeper  look into the matter reveals a sliver of sustenance. Motivation, energy. Yes, two items you need in vast supplies. Not all the time, though. As I've written before, nothing is good, nothing is bad... perspective. We've been touched, chosen... accept it and move ahead on your new occupation, chief reflector of the seemingly insurmountable pangs of negativity that abound 24/7 in the "state of mind." Change that mental direction, Slowly, remember "fast" is a word of the past. Grasp on to your new world. Slow is the way to go. Inner calm is to be realized... you live, there is life in thee, nurture, for in time you will be rewarded for your persistence. It be so!!!


You need to be around people that support you and that are optimistic. Not ones that slow down your progress and spirit. God bless you.

Minor TBI?  Really/  My brain (injured) from my minor concussion  (while working alone) told me I was okay.  I stayed at work despite some vertigo and forgetting some words.  I made decisions with the logic of about a 6-year-old child, but no one noticed.  I felt like I was drunk for days, but I showed up and went to work so no one cared.  Finally, thankfully, brain cells died and I got a terrible headache, etc. and a bit of sense. I had to go to the ER. I still have cognitive issues three weeks after the fall. and my employer insists that I go back to work.  I have warned them that my decision-making skills and cognitive ability are still somewhat dysfunctional.  They do not believe me.  Tomorrow I will be humiliated, but yes, I will return with my sunglasses, walking sticks for balance, bad memory, poor organization, mental fog, etc.  I warned them that I cannot be responsible for the safety of others right now.  I now know the meaning of brain injury, but sadly my bosses and their customers will only learn tomorrow at my expense. When I need to, I will repeatedly explain that I have a brain injury from which I have not fully recovered..  I have given notice at work since they refused to pay my medical and worker's comp benefits, so I will move on, after some time at my brother's house.  I wish myself and everyone else the best.  I take hope in the fact that total recovery may not be possible, but that new windows of opportunity may open if I make myself available. I will work through the stops of recovery, and life will go on.

Just read the first 3 pages. It's me. It sucks


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