Traumatic Brain Injury TBI

WDVA Traumatic Brain Injury / Acquired Brain Injury Fact Sheet

What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Examples of external forces are falls, exposure to blasts, being hit in the head, sudden and violent change in air pressure and more.

Acquired Brain Injury is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth and is often the result of lack of oxygen to the brain, poisoning, strokes, etc.

The relationship between the two is that there has been injury to the brain which causes disruption and damage to this most vital and fragile of organs.

​How do I know if I have a TBI /ABI?

This can be hard to tell.

You may “feel” absolutely normal.

Often the symptoms are seen by those around you who know you the best but they may not feel comfortable saying anything.

Often the symptoms of TBI / ABI are attributed to other diagnosis such as depression, anxiety or PTSD.

Symptoms often seen are changes affecting thinking, sensation, language, or emotions.

  • Thinking (poor concentration, memory problems making poor judgement calls and reasoning)
  • Sensation (problems with sight, sensitivity to light, sensation “overload” and balance); 
  • Language (communication problems, expression of ideas/concepts, and understanding)
  • Emotion (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness)

Dependent on the severity, type and location of the injury these symptoms may last a short time or affect a person the rest of their life.

Military personnel are particularly at risk due to the nature of their exposure to accidents, injuries and exposure to blasts.


What should I do if I think I have had a TBI / ABI?

If detected there is help available.

Ask yourself…

  • Have you ever had an accident or injury where you lost consciousness or where dazed (got your “bell rung”)?
  • Have been exposed to blasts, a violent change in air pressure or noxious fumes?
  • After a particular accident/exposure did you or those around you notice you had a harder time remembering, concentrating, maintaining your typical level of patience (mood control) or other changes?
  • If you have questions we are here for your answers. If we can’t help there are others who can and we can put you in touch.

You can use this contact sheet to learn more. 

TBI Assessment