The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. This happens to about 1.7 million Americans each year. 53,000 deaths, 235,000 trips to the hospital, and 1.1 million trips to the ER each year are because of TBI. Traumatic brain injuries are separate from non-traumatic brain injuries (NTBI), which are caused by internal factors, such as lack of oxygen, exposure to toxins, pressure from a tumor, stroke, near drowning, or an infectious disease.

Common causes of TBI include car accidents, falls, assault, and sports injuries. Traumatic brain injury can be classified as mild (concussion), moderate, or severe, based on the patient’s clinical presentation, and the effects of TBI can be temporary or permanent. 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.

Traumatic brain injury is unpredictable in its consequences and can affect who we are and the way we think, act, or feel. It can change everything about us in a matter of seconds. The most important things to remember are:

  • A person with a brain injury is a person first.
  • No two brain injuries are the same.
  • The effects of a brain injury are complex and depend on factors such as cause, location, and severity.


Services that focus on training, support, and supervision so that a person may live in the most unrestrictive setting of their choice in the community.

Services that focus on the goal of living in the community and being a part of it.

Services that provide preemployment and educational services to people that are not served or underserved by vocational rehabilitation services.

Information and referral is the art, science and practice of bringing people and services together. If individuals or families don't know where to turn, or need more information, I&R can help connect them with the information, tools, and resources they need.

Training activities are instructional events designed to increase participants’ knowledge and skills regarding TBI.