About Brain Injury


An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. Essentially, this type of brain injury is one that has occurred after birth. The injury results in a change to the brain's neuronal activity, which affects the physical integrity, metabolic activity, or functional ability of nerve cells in the brain.

There are two types of acquired brain injury:

Traumatic and Non-traumatic.

  • A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Traumatic impact injuries can be defined as closed (or non-penetrating) or open (penetrating).
  • A non-traumatic brain injury is an alteration in brain function or pathology caused by an internal force.
  • A person with a brain injury is a person first.

  • No two brain injuries are exactly the same.

  • The effects of a brain injury are complex and vary greatly from person to person.

  • The effects of a brain injury depend on such factors as cause, location, and severity.

Cognitive challenges:

- Memory loss
- Concentration
- Attention Problems
- Slowed learning
- Difficulty with planning,

reasoning and judgment

Emotional & behavioral:

- Depression
- Anxiety
- Impulsivity
- Aggression
- Thoughts of suicide
- Irritability

Physical challenges:

- Fatigue
- Headaches
- Difficulty with balance or
motor skills
- Sensory loss
- Seizures
- Sleep issues
- Visual deficits

Follow these links for more information about Brain Injury:

Brain Injury Association of America

The National Association provides information on everything from brain injury basics to treatment to special topics.  Check out this rich resource.

TBI Model Systems

Funded and operated by a collaboration of groups to bring the “latest and best research findings” to the healthcare arena.  This site has information about many special brain-related topics.


“a multimedia project offering authoritative information and support to anyone whose life has been affected by brain injury or PTSD…” A national service of WETA-TV, the flagship PBS station in Washington, DC.


It is important for you to find physicians, therapists and treatment providers who have experience with Brain Injury or who will refer you to someone who does.  No matter the severity level, from concussion to a catastrophic injury, rehabilitation care is necessary to address medical, cognitive, behavioral and vocational issues, as is starting a record of what is happening. Treatments and medications vary significantly. It is not uncommon that different methods will be trialed before finding the right combination.



~ More than 3.5 million people sustain an acquired brain injury in the US each year;
~ 2.5 million of these are traumatic brain injuries.

~ 280,000 are hospitalized; 50,000 die.

~ 400,000 children and youth are treated in Emergency Rooms with these injuries.

~ The CDC estimates as many as 3.8 million concussions related to
sports and recreation occur each year.

~ 529,200 Pennsylvanians are living with Acquired Brain Injury.