Ross Zafonte, DO: Misconceptions About Traumatic Brain Injury


The biggest and most nefarious misconception about TBI is that it doesn’t get better. That is simply not true. The vast majority of people with TBI do well over time and can be effectively treated to live functional and fulfilling lives. However, that does not counter the risk of behavioral, medical, and cognitive problems in the long term. With more research and experience, experts in the field are focusing on learning more to mitigate risk and improve the outcome of those with TBI in both the short and long term.

Dr. Ross Zafonte is the Chief of Traumatic Brain Injury for Home Base, part of the Wounded Warrior Project's Warrior Care Network.

For information about treatments for brain injury please visit The Treatment Hub.

People have a lot of misconceptions around brain injury. And the misconception is, one of them, is that everybody is destined to do poorly and that’s just not the case. The vast majority of people do well over time. They get better, and we can help make them better by treating much of their symptomology. That doesn’t counter the fact that brain injury is a risk longer term for certain behavioral, medical, and cognitive problems. We need to understand how to mitigate that risk while improving people’s outcome over the short-term. BrainLine is powered in part by Wounded Warrior Project to honor and empower post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families.

Posted on BrainLine October 6, 2021. Reviewed October 6, 2021.

About the author: Ross D. Zafonte, DO

Dr. Ross Zafonte is the Clinical and Research Leader for Traumatic Brain Injury at the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program. He is the Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, vice president of Medical Affairs at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at MGH.

Headshot of Dr. Ross D. Zafonte