TBI: Get the Facts

  • concussion According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. 2014, an average of 155 people in the United States died each day from injuries that include a TBI.1 Those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days, or the rest of their lives. Effects of TBI can include impairments related to thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression). These issues not only affect individuals, but also can have lasting effects on families and communities.


    What is a TBI?

    According to the CDC, A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury).  Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.2


    If your child sustains a concussion during school, a head injury form, along with an academic accommodations form for practitioners (link to forms), will be sent home with the child. Please take the academic accommodations form to the practitioner and return to the school nurse so that we can make appropriate accommodations in the school setting. All students with concussions should follow a return-to-play protocol, either through the school nurse, in physical education class, or with the athletic trainer. Please note: Any student who sustains a concussion while participating in a school-sponsored sport must be cleared through the athletic training department, regardless of being cleared by a family practitioner, before returning to the activity.  



    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Surveillance Report of Traumatic Brain Injury-related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths—United States, 2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: steps to prevent a serious public health problem. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003.