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Brain Injury

Brain Injury Defined

Brain injury is an insult to the brain that may impair cognitive, physical, behavioral, and emotional functions. The impairment may be temporary or permanent.

Common Causes

  • Automobile accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Tumors
  • Strokes
  • Oxygen or blood flow interruptions


  • Every 15 seconds, someone receives a head injury in the United States
  • 2 million people are brain injured each year, with 500,000 severe enough to require admission to a hospital
  • Every 5 minutes, one of those people will die and another will become permanently disabled
  • Brain injury is the leading killer and cause of disability in children and young adults
  • Two-thirds of all persons sustaining head injuries are under age 30.


Every person is unique; so is each head injury. Physical disabilities, impaired learning, and personality changes are common for head injury patients. Problems may occur in the following:


  • Speech
  • Hearing
  • Paralysis
  • Vision
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Seizure Disorder

Cognitive Impairments

  • Concentration
  • Attention
  • Perception
  • Planning
  • Communication
  • Writing Skills
  • Short Term Memory
  • Long Term Memory
  • Judgment
  • Sequencing
  • Reading Skills
  • Orientation

Behavioral/Emotional Changes

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Mood Swings
  • Excessive Emotions
  • Depression
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Inability to Cope
  • Self-Centeredness

After Brain Injury - What Can I Do?

A brain injury affects each person differently. Someone with a brain injury may appear fine but act in unpredictable ways. Or, he or she may seem like a new person to you. Not knowing what to expect may make you frustrated, angry, or afraid.

How well a person recovers depends on where and how badly the brain was injured. The patient’s efforts and desire to recover also play a big part. The biggest gains tend to occur in the first year. But for most people, recovering from brain injury is a lifelong process.

Rehabilitation is a team effort. Some of the members of the team may be as follows:

  • A physiatrist – A doctor who specializes in rehabilitation.
  • Rehabilitation Nurses – Provide patient care and train families to assist with medical and rehabilitation needs of the patient.
  • Psychiatrist or Psychologist – Evaluate the patient’s mental skills and provide guidelines for behavior.
  • Physical Therapists – Help the patient improve strength and motor skills.
  • Occupational Therapies – Help the patient relearn daily tasks, such as dressing and eating.
  • Speech Therapists – Help the patient improve language skills, speech and cognitive retraining.
  • Recreational Therapists – Help the patient find ways to spend leisure time and reinforce rehabilitation goals.
  • Social Worker/Case Manager – Guide the family through the health care system and provides guidance and support to the patient and family.
  • Family and Friends – Help the patient through the process by getting involved. Meet with the rehab team, ask questions, get trained to assist with therapy and rehabilitation goals.


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