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Traumatic Brain Injury

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A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Concussions, also called “closed head injuries”, are a type of TBI. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of such an injury may range from “mild”, i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe”, i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. TBI can cause a wide range of functional changes which can affect thinking, sensation, movement, language, and/or emotions. Some symptoms may appear immediately after the injury and other symptoms may not appear for days or weeks. Because of the nature of the injury and the symptoms, sometimes people may not recognize or admit that they have a problem. In post-concussion/mild TBI patients, recovery time is within weeks/months, but a small percentage have persistent symptoms. Patients with moderate to severe TBI may never fully recover their pre-injury function.

The rate of combat-related brain injuries in servicemembers returning from the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan is higher than in previous conflicts. Blast injuries are a significant cause of TBIs. TBI is often associated with severe multiple trauma, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or undiagnosed concussions. Screening patients who are at risk for a TBI is important in order to ensure that TBIs are identified and appropriately treated.

Below, we have provided information on TBI, including clinical guidance, policies and directives, training material, and other resources to assist healthcare providers and Service members and their families.

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Clinical Guidance

DoD/VA Clinical Guidance

Non-DoD/VA Clinical Guidance

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Policies and Directives

DoD/Joint Forces

Air Force

  • None Applicable



VA (Department Of Veterans Affairs)

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Forms and Measures

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Other Related Information



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Education and Training

Healthcare Professionals Education and Training Material

Service Members and Families Information and Training Material

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Research Articles/Reports

Research Web Pages

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Related Links


Non DoD/VA

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