What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when there is a significant, or violent, blow to the head that damages the brain. It can range from mild to moderate to severe.

The most common causes of TBI can include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents.
  • Falls 
  • Military injuries while being deployed; IED exposure if one was deployed during the Iraq/Afghanistan war
  • Sports injuries; cheerleading, women’s soccer, football (including professional football), bike accidents

The TBI Spectrum

The TBI Spectrum illustrates the way TBI may progress over time.

Categories of TBI


Concussion is the most common and mildest form of TBI — making up about 70%. It typically resolves in seven to 10 days.

An accurate diagnosis, early treatment, and resuming activity at the right time help to keep a mild TBI from progressing to more severe stages of brain injury.

Post-Concussive Syndrome (PCS)

Concussion symptoms that last more than 10 days after the initial injury is called post-concussive syndrome (PCS). Symptoms may include problems with memory and concentration, headaches and dizziness.

PCS can be classified as:

  • Acute: symptoms resolve within a few weeks.
  • Chronic: symptoms last for more than 30 days.

If left untreated, PCS can greatly impact daily functions and quality of life.

Neurodegenerative Disorders (NDD)/Memory Disorders

Over time, a small percentage of TBIs may progress to memory disorders. These disorders damage brain cells, causing difficulties with memory, mood/emotions or movement. Symptoms of memory disorders can be debilitating, and typically worsen over time.

Memory disorders caused by TBI include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s-like motor disorders
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

Early treatment can help slow disease progression or reduce symptoms.

Clinical Trials

Patients can participate in TBI clinical trials at Kaizen Brain Center. To enroll and learn more about the trials, please contact our clinical team.