A Resource for Teachers, Clinicians, Parents, and Students by the Brain Injury Association of New York State.


At The Brain Injury Association of NYS, we understand that you may be overwhelmed by the information that is available to you concerning the brain, brain injury and its’ complexities. We believe that it is important to present this information in a clear manner in order for you to make educated and informed decisions. In our efforts to provide you with the most helpful resources about the brain, brain injury, and its effects, we have provided some valuable information below.

About the Brain

Video Presentation: Introduction to Brain Injury
The following 17 minute video presentation, featuring Dr. Brian Reiger, Chief Psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University, provides a general overview of human brain anatomy and its related function and explains how such knowledge can help us to better understand the impact of brain injury.

Dr. Brian Rieger is Chief Psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at SUNY Upstate Medical University.  Dr. Rieger specializes in brain injury, and is the director of the Concussion Management Program and the CNY Sports Concussion Center at University Hospital in Syracuse, New York.  He is a frequent speaker on the topic of concussion and sports-concussion at medical, sports, and community forums.  He is a member of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPHSAA) Concussion Management Team, and is the Psychology Liaison to the NYSPHSAA Safety Committee.  Dr. Rieger also serves on the Injury Prevention and Public Awareness Committee of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Coordinating Council. 

Brain Structure

1. Take a look at an interactive 3D brain by clicking on the following link: http://www.traumaticbraininjuryatoz.org/Interactive-Brain.aspx

Image taken from the American Health Assistance Foundation- Alzheimer’s Disease Research


Educational Links

1. Neuroscience for Kids- Students and teachers can learn more about the nervous system

2. Centers for Disease Control- General TBI Info

3. NOVA: Body and Brain

4. American Museum of Natural History- Brain: The Inside Story

5. Traumatic Brain Injury A to Z

6. REAP The Benefits of Good Concussion Management
How every family, school and medical professional can create a community-based concussion management program.


Brain Injury Facts

Every 21 Seconds One Person in the U.S. Sustains a Brain Injury

Each year, 230,000 persons are hospitalized with traumatic brain injury and survive

22% of the persons with traumatic brain injury die

Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury for persons 65 and over

Transportation related injuries are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury for persons of age 5-64

An estimated 5.3 million Americans (a little more than 2% of the US population) currently live with disabilities resulting from traumatic brain injury

Acquired brain injury: an injury to the brain that occurs after birth
Traumatic brain injury: an injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, which may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness that results in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning. These impairments may be either temporary or permanent and cause partial or total functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.

  • The causes of brain injury are varied, and include car crashes, falls, assaults, sports-related mishaps, stroke, aneurysm, and domestic or child abuse.
  • A brain injury may result in mild, moderate, or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition; speech-language communication; memory; attention and concentration; reasoning; abstract thinking; physical functions; psychosocial behavior; and information processing.


Leading Causes of TBI:

1. Falls (35.2%)
2. Motor vehicle – traffic (17.3%)
3. Struck by/against events (16.5%)
4. Assaults (10%)  

Who is at Risk?



  • Falls continue to be the leading cause of TBI (35.2%) in the United States.
  • Falls cause half (50%) of the TBIs among children aged 0 to 14 years and 61% of all TBIs among adults aged 65 years and older.

Motor Vehicle-Traffic Crashes

  • Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes and traffic-related incidents were the second leading cause of TBI (17.3%) and resulted in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths (31.8%)

Struck By/Against Events

  • Struck by/against events, which include colliding with a moving or stationary object, were the second leading cause of TBI among children aged 0 to 14 years, with 25%.


  • Assaults produced 10% of TBIs in the general population
  • They accounted for only 2.9% in children aged 0 to 14 years and 1% in adults aged 65 years old and older.

Who is at Risk?

  • Approximately 18% of all TBI-related emergency department visits involved children aged 0 to 4 years.
  • Approximately 22% of all TBI-related hospitalizations involved adults aged 75 years and older.
  • Males are more often diagnosed with a TBI (59%).
  • Blasts are a leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel in war zones. For more information about TBI in the military including an interactive website for service members, veterans, families and caregivers, please visit: www.TraumaticBrainInjuryAtoZ.org.

Information provided by The Centers for Disease Control-Brain Injury Prevention and Control (http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/causes.html)



Learn More:
Headaches and Pain

Sensory Problems
Sleep Problems
Balance Problems
Personality, Mood or Behavior Problems
Thinking Problems
Communication Problems
  • severe headache that does not go away or get better
  • seizures: eyes fluttering, body going stiff, staring into space
  • memory problems / child forgets
  • hands shake, tremors, muscle weakness, loss of muscle tone
  • repeated nausea or vomiting

Headaches and Pain

  • Reoccurring headaches
  • Other face or head pain
  • Consistent neck and shoulder pain
  • Other unexplainable body pain

Sensory Problems
  • Bothered by smells, lights, or sounds
  • Changes in taste or smell
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Can't handle normal background noise
  • Physically uncomfortable, too hot or cold
  • Trouble seeing: blurred vision or seeing double

Sleep Problems
  • Trouble sleeping through the night
  • Tired and drowsy
  • Sleeps too much
  • Confusion of days and nights
  • Development of new napping trends .

Balance Problems
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with standing or balance

Personality, Mood, or Behavior Problems
  • Irritable, anxious or restless
  • Easily frustrated or gets upset
  • Too easily over-reacts, cries or laughs
  • Wants to be alone or away from people
  • Blames others for everything
  • Is afraid of others
  • Wants to be taken care of
  • Doesn't know how to act with people
  • Takes risks without thinking
  • Sad and depressed
  • "Can't get started", doesn't want to do anything
  • Dramatic changes in motor skills
  • Changes in eating behavior: eats too little, too much or things that aren't food
  • Changes in sexual behavior
  • Starts using or has different reactions to alcohol and drugs

Thinking Problems

  • Has trouble remembering things
  • Has trouble paying attention
  • Reacts or thinks slowly
  • Takes things too literally, doesn't understand jokes
  • Consistently thinks about the same things
  • Trouble learning new things
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Has trouble with a task: planning, starting, doing, finishing
  • Has trouble remembering to do things on time
  • Makes poor decisions or has lost common sense

Communication Problems

  • Changes the subject consistently, has trouble staying on one topic
  • Has trouble thinking of the right word
  • Has trouble listening
  • Doesn't speak clearly
  • Has trouble reading
  • Talks excessively


Seeking Help

If your head hurts and you are experiencing any of the symptoms from the list,
Go See a Doctor Right Away!

If your child's head hurts and has symptoms from the lists, ask your child’s doctor to recommend a specialist in brain injury for an:
-evaluation of health problems by a pediatric physiatrist
-evaluation of behavior, thinking, and communication by a child neuropsychologist
-evaluation by a licensed psychologist with a specialty in neuropsychology

They can

  • help you understand the changes in your child
  • recommend simple changes in your child's routine that may help
  • refer you to a rehabilitation specialist
  • offer plans that will help in school and around your community


Copyright 2006, by
The Brain Injury Association of New York State
10 Colvin Avenue, Albany, NY 12206 - Phone: (518) 459-7911 - Fax: (518) 482-5285

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