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.
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.
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 secondleading 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.
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
Other face or head pain
Consistent neck and shoulder pain
Other unexplainable body pain
Bothered by smells, lights, or sounds
Changes in taste or smell
Ringing in the ear
Can't handle normal background noise
Physically uncomfortable, too hot or cold
Trouble seeing: blurred vision or seeing double
Trouble sleeping through the night
Tired and drowsy
Sleeps too much
Confusion of days and nights
Development of new napping trends .
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
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
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
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 hurtsand 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
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