Did you know...

that the two age groups at highest risk for TBI are 0-4 year olds & 15-19 year olds?

More Information

Brain Injury Clinical Research

Links for service members and their families:

Learn more about TBI and PTSD:

Follow Us and Share

      Facebook Icon  Twitter Icon  YouTube Icon  Share Icon       NIH Logo
Learn about our research studies

About TBI and PTSD

What is brain injury?

Brain injury is a complex set of injuries that can have physical or emotional causes. Survivors of brain injury are often left with significant changes in how they think, behave, remember and communicate. Many patients often have difficulty holding their job or returning to duty, which can be extremely stressful in family and interpersonal relationships.

What is TBI?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the general term for a blow, jolt, or a penetrating injury to the head that causes problems in how the brain works. TBI can be caused by a number of different events, like a car accident, fall, assault, sports injury, or blast from an IED or RPG.

How is TBI described?

TBI can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the nature and extent of the injury. A concussion is an example of mild TBI. Most cases of TBI (over 75%) are mild.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can happen after exposure to a life-threatening event. Life-threatening events can include: combat, car accidents, natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes, physical or sexual assault, or seeing someone else badly hurt.

How is TBI related to PTSD?

Mild TBI is not well defined and does not always result in obvious impairments. Many of its signs and symptoms overlap with those of PTSD. PTSD and mild TBI can occur together but they don't have to. In a combat zone, it is possible that the very same event that causes a concussion or mild brain injury could also be life-threatening and lead to PTSD.
Due to the high rate of veterans returning with these conditions, TBI and PTSD are considered "signature injuries" of current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.