Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Skip subpage navigation

Traumatic Brain Injury Resources for Medical Providers

TBICoE develops practical, easy-to-use clinical recommendations and tools to support health care providers in assessing and treating service members who have sustained a TBI. Clinical recommendations address common symptoms associated with mild TBI, such as headache, sleep disturbances, and vision problems. Most clinical recommendations have related patient resources to help educate patients through recovery.

Interested in learning more about the potential effects of low-level blast exposure? Discover which occupations and heavy weapon systems are associated with increased risk of LLB exposure and learn how to best document, manage, and care for your patients—to optimize warfighter brain health.

Need training on any of the clinical tools? Email us to schedule a training with our TBI educators, network dissemination specialists. Supplemental "Provider Education" materials are also available.

Acute Concussion Care Pathway

In order to standardize acute concussion assessment and care across the MHS, DHA established the Acute Concussion Care Pathway as part of the FY21 Quadruple Aim Performance Plan.

The goal of the ACC Pathway is to improve recovery times and outcomes by utilizing a multi-modal assessment tool at the time of injury—the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2—and to ensure timely access to repeat evaluations with personalized treatment protocols in alignment with a progressive return to activity process.

Supporting the goal of the ACC Pathway, the DHA Procedural Instruction 6490.04, titled “Required Clinical Tools and Procedures for Assessment and Clinical Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion in Non-Deployed Setting,” establishes the required clinical tools and procedures for management of mild TBI, or concussion, in a non-deployed setting. Specifically, the use of the MACE 2 and a PRA framework for the assessment, management, and rehabilitation of all patients with a mild TBI.

The ACC Pathway—a standardized assessment and treatment plan for acute concussion, mandates:

  1. Use of the MACE 2 for acute assessment at the initial appointment 
  2. Follow-up within 72 hours after diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury
  3. Completion of a progressive return to activity process prior to return to full duty

This fact sheet and educational video focus on standardizing the nomenclature for the ACC Pathway, delineating how each element intertwines to meet the objective of improving concussion outcomes across the MHS. 

 Thumbnail image of the downloadable fact sheet on the acute concussion care pathway. What is the Acute Concussion Care Pathway?

Download the ACC Pathway Fact Sheet

TBICoE offers a quarterly "Acute Concussion Care Pathway: MACE 2 & PRA" virtual training. Attendees may earn two CEUs through the Defense Health Agency Continuing Education Program Office.

The DOD published the DODI 6490.11, "DOD Policy Guidance for Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion in the Deployed Setting" establishing policy, assigning responsibilities, and providing procedures on the management of mild TBI in the deployed setting.

TBICoE's MACE 2, PRA clinical recommendation, Recurrent Concussion Evaluation, and ICD-10 Coding Guidance for TBI support the ACC Pathway, the DHA-PI 6490.04, and the DODI 6490.11.

 

Military Acute Concussion Evaluation, Version 2

The 2018 MACE 2 is an acute assessment tool for all medically trained personnel who treat service members involved in a potentially concussive event. The clinical tool incorporates current state-of-the-science traumatic brain injury information, including vestibular-ocular-motor screening.

Download the MACE 2 and supporting materials.

 

Progressive Return to Activity

The 2021 Progressive Return to Activity: Primary Care for Acute Concussion Management clinical recommendation is an evidence-based return to activity protocol for primary care managers and concussion/TBI clinic providers.

Download the Progressive Return to Activity: Primary Care for Acute Concussion Management clinical recommendation and Patient and Leadership Guide.

Recurrent Concussion Evaluation

The Recurrent Concussion Evaluation is designed to guide providers in the management of patients with a history of three or more documented concussions within a 12-month span.

Clinical Recommendations and Support Tools for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

TBICoE optimizes clinical care by combining evidence from medical literature, health care research, and expert opinion to develop and provide clinical recommendations and tools to help providers deliver evidence-based treatment and address the challenges associated with mild TBI.

  • Clinical recommendations provide guidance on assessing and managing mild TBI symptoms.
  • Clinical support tools offer an algorithmic approach to evaluating, managing, and referring mild TBI patients for specialty care.
  • Training material to show providers how to identify and treat patients with mild TBI-related symptoms.
  • Fact sheets and patient guides that provide tips and tools to help service members and veterans cope with a mild TBI.

UPDATED! Assessment and Management of Headache Following Concussion Clinical Suite

Thumbnail image of the downloadable assessment and management of headache following concussion clinical recommendation.This is a major revision of the 2016 clinical recommendation. Some key changes to new “Assessment and Management of Headache Following Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Guidance for the Primary Care Manager” include:

  • Expansion of both non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment of the most common types of post-traumatic headaches.
  • Inclusion of three additional post-traumatic headache subtypes—trigeminal, occipital neuralgia, and vestibular migraines, as well as increased focus on medication overuse headache.
  • Addition of considerations and precautions for preventive treatment options and treatment efficacy criteria to help primary care managers ensure optimal and effective treatment.

The revised patient education fact sheet on managing headache after concussion helps patients understand behavioral and pharmacological strategies their primary care manager may use to manage their PTH.

The all-new fact sheet on medication overuse headache should be reviewed with the patient, as it has space for clinicians to outline a treatment plan. It explains the basics of MOH, as well as treatment and prevention strategies.

 

Neuroendocrine Dysfunction Screening Following Concussion/Mild TBI

 

Neuroimaging Following Concussion/Mild TBI

 

Dizziness and Visual Disturbances Following Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

 

Sleep Disturbances Following Concussion/Mild TBI

 

Cognitive Rehabilitation Following Mild to Moderate TBI

 

Neurocognitive Assessment Tool (NCAT) Testing Following Concussion/Mild TBI

 

Additional Clinical Support Tools

Check out the latest resource, "Medical Devices for Assessment of Traumatic Brain Injury." This fact sheet defines the different regulatory terms and pathways of medical devices, provides an overview on what devices are currently FDA approved for assessing TBI, and provides some considerations for clinicians and researchers before using a device.

Thumbnail image of the downloadable medical devices and TBI fact sheet.

Additional tools to assist in the identification, treatment, and management of patients with mild TBI in deployed and non-deployed settings are also available. Click below to download copies of the Glasgow Coma Scale, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Insomnia Severity Index, Neurobehavioral Symptom Inventory, and a number of other evaluation tools.

Find and download the additional tools here.

You also may be interested in...

Publication
Jul 23, 2021

PRA Case Study Workbook

.PDF | 23.51 MB

This workbook, paired with corresponding PRA Training Video 8, is an interactive clinical case scenario to test your understanding in applying the Progressive Return to Activity. We hope this will help medical providers become more familiar with the PRA process when treating service members with concussion.

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 8: Clinical Case Scenario

Thumbnail image of PRA training video 8, clinical case scenario.

This is an interactive clinical case scenario to test your understanding in applying the Progressive Return to Activity (PRA). We hope this will help medical providers become more familiar with the PRA process when treating service members with concussion. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability ...

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 6: The Return to Duty Screening

Thumbnail image of PRA training video 6, the return to duty screening

In this lesson, we cover how to perform the Return to Duty, or RTD screening, which now includes both vestibular/physical and neurocognitive examinations. The purpose of the RTD screening is to objectively measure whether a service member is ready for return to full duty. Each video in the Progressive Return to Activity training series is designed ...

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 7: Symptom-Guided Management and Specialty Referral Guidance Tables

Thumbnail image of PRA training video 7, the symptom-guided management and specialty referral guidance tables.

This lesson covers how to use the Progressive Return to Activity, or PRA's Symptom-Guided Management and Specialty Referral Guidance tables. This lesson also details primary care management strategies for service members who are not progressing as expected in the PRA. Each video in the Progressive Return to Activity training series is designed to ...

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 1: PRA Overview

Thumbnail image of PRA training video 1, PRA overview.

In the first of TBICoE's Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) video training series, you will learn about the reasons for using a progressive return to activity process and receive an overview of the 2021 PRA algorithm and its associated tools. By the end of lesson one, providers will better understand the PRA process, and explain that process to ...

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 3: Understanding Relative Rest

Thumbnail image for PRA Training video 3, understanding relative rest

In this lesson we explain the differences between complete rest and relative rest in a staged concussion recovery process, and provide examples of activities that promote relative rest. The revised Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation uses the term 'relative rest' to emphasize the importance of early introduction of physical ...

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 2: Six Major Changes

Thumbnail image of PRA Training Video 2, Six Major Changes

In this lesson we review the six major changes in the TBICoE's revised 2021 Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation that differ from the original recommendation. The changes reflect the latest TBI research, and will make it easier for providers to manage the recovery process and return service members with concussion to full ...

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 5: The Six Stages of the PRA

Thumbnail image for PRA training video 5, the six stages of the PRA

In this lesson, we cover the key activity objectives for each of the six stages of the Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation and provide activity examples for each stage. Each stage is designed to gradually increase the intensity and duration of a service member's physical and cognitive activity as they advance in the PRA ...

Video
Jul 22, 2021

PRA Training Video 4: PRA Progression Criteria

Thumbnail image for PRA Training video 4, PRA progression criteria

In this lesson, we review the criteria for advancing through the stages of the Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Clinical Recommendation. Each video in the PRA training series is designed to support primary care providers' ability to manage concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Fact Sheet
Apr 28, 2021

Help With Ongoing Symptoms Following Concussion/Mild TBI Fact Sheet

.PDF | 144.49 KB

Although the majority of service members recover from concussion with little to no intervention, some experience symptoms beyond the first three months after their initial injury. This fact sheet addresses why symptoms continue to persist in some patients and how they can cope or seek additional help.

Video
Feb 25, 2021

Progressive Return to Activity After Concussion Video

Progressive Return to Activity Provider Video

The PRA is an evidence-based, easy-to-use approach to help providers return service members with mild TBIs back to duty safely. TBICoE researchers have found that, if medical providers completed a two-hour, in-person training on the use of the PRA, their patients saw an overall reduction in symptoms after one week, one month, and three months, when ...

Infographic
Feb 24, 2021

Returning to Duty After Concussion

What's the best way to recover from a concussion? Returning to duty too soon after a concussion can lead to prolonged symptoms, decreased readiness, poor marksmanship, accidents and falls, and increased risk of more concussions. Progressively increasing activity in a step-wise manner can help you resolve your symptoms and return to duty safely. Ask your primary health care provider about TBICoE's Progressive Return to Activity to help you return to duty as quickly and safely as possible. Visit health.mil/TBICoE.

This TBICoE infographic gives an overview of the risks of returning to duty too soon after a concussion and explains how a progressive increase in activity can help get you back to duty safely. Returning to duty too soon after concussion can lead to prolonged symptoms, poor marksmanship, decreased readiness, accidents and falls, and increased risk of ...

Publication
Feb 23, 2021

Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild TBI Provider Training

.PPTX | 7.22 MB

The TBICoE revised the Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Recommendation (PRA) and this updated provider training slide deck. The trainings objectives will help providers to identify the key changes to the updated 2021 PRA; explain the rationale for using a PRA protocol for service members ...

Last Updated: May 20, 2024
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery