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TBI Information

Brain health is critical to mission readiness for every service member, and to the overall health of every individual. Arming yourself with information on how to minimize the risk of TBI, understanding TBI symptoms so you know when to seek care, and the proper steps to take during treatment, can help everyone be TBI ready.

Messages for Communicators

  • TBI Prevention - Service members can stay mission ready by taking precautions and being aware of risks when they engage in activities that could result in a TBI.
    • Wearing appropriate safety equipment is important to avoid a TBI while in the workplace, recreating, and when training or deployed.
    • Support good brain health through proper nutrition, getting enough sleep, and minimize alcohol consumption.
  • Signs and Symptoms of TBI - Service members should to educate themselves about TBI symptoms to know when to seek care.
    • TBI symptoms, whether for a mild or serious TBI, can be physical, cognitive, and/or emotional. Symptoms may include:
      • Physical: headache, sleep disturbances, dizziness, balance problems, headaches nausea and/or vomiting, fatigue, visual disturbances like blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light or noise, and ringing in the ears 
      • Cognitive: slowed thinking, poor concentration, memory loss, confusion, difficulty making decisions, difficulty finding words 
      • Emotional: anxiety, feeling depressed, irritability and mood swings
    • Two major complications of TBI are visual and auditory. Even a mild TBI can cause persistent visual dysfunctions that affect vision and eye movements.
    • Not all TBIs are caused by major blows to the head. Other things that can cause TBI include car accidents, falls, a blast wave, a blow to the body that jolts the head, and contact sports.
  • TBI Treatment - TBI is treatable, and recovery is possible with appropriate care. Most people who suffer a mild TBI, or concussion, recover completely.
    • Returning to duty following any TBI, even a mild one, involves a progressive, step-by-step approach. 
    • Symptoms of a TBI may reappear or worsen if military training and sports or recreational activities resume too quickly.
    • The Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2 or MACE 2 screening tool helps screen and evaluate mild TBI by adding new assessment areas, such as assessing eye movements and balance after a possible mild TBI. 
  • Clinical guidelines using the “progressive return to activity” process improve care for warfighters dealing with TBI.


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