Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

What is a TBI?

  • A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be classified as mild, moderate, severe or penetrating. 
  • A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that damages the normal function of the brain. It may knock you out briefly or for an extended period of time, or make you feel confused or “see stars”. 

What are the causes of a TBI?

In the military, the leading causes of TBI both deployed and non-deployed are (in no particular order):

  • Blasts
  • Bullets
  • Fragments
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle – crashes and rollovers
  • Sports injuries
  • Assaults
  • Aircraft landings, parachute drops

What are common signs and symptoms of TBI?


  • Headaches that are happening over and over or getting worse
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Visual disturbances
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Ringing in the ears


  • Concentration problems
  • Temporary gaps in memory or forgetting things
  • Attention problems
  • Slowed thinking
  • Difficulty finding words


  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

What helps document a possible TBI?

  • Be honest about symptoms with your superiors, you medical providers, and your family.
  • Immediately report any incident you think may have caused a TBI.
  • Keep your own copies of all service records and medical records when possible.
  • Keep a daily journal or “log” where you can write down how you feel or what is happening to you and take the journal with you to your medical appointments.

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