Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month; TBICoE’s mission lasts all year

Military health personnel performing a balance test on a patient Katherine Perlberg, a physical therapist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, performs a balancing test on Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class John Toomer, a hospital corpsman from Naval Hospital Naples, during Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s Virtual Health Presenters Course, Sept. 3. (Photo by: William Beach, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center)

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | A Head for the Future | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Month | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Centers of Excellence

Navy Capt. (Dr.) Scott Pyne sees March’s Brain Injury Awareness Month as an opportunity to highlight what the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence does all year long.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. They can have long-lasting effects. Awareness of TBIs - how to identify them, and ways to mitigate them or seek treatment if an individual thinks they may have one - is an important element of maintaining a medically ready force.

Pyne, division chief for the Silver Spring, Maryland-based TBICoE, said that what many people may not realize about TBIs within the DOD is that they occur more often at home than while deployed.

"TBI is a big issue for the military, especially in a deployed environment, but more TBI actually occurs in the non-deployed environment," Pyne said. "It's really important to be careful about TBI and know about it when you're doing average, day-to-day things like driving your car, riding your bike or motorcycle, skiing, or playing sports."

Pyne said he's seen many changes and advancements surrounding the study and understanding of TBI during his career, and this has led to better guidance for everyone.

"I think the biggest difference is in the area of concussions or mild traumatic brain injury, and this has been pushed out to our line leaders, clinicians, patients, service members, and veterans to be aware of the effects of mild traumatic brain injury," Pyne said. "In the past, concussions happened and people knew about them, but they really didn't pay them much mind."

He said that much of the advancement in understanding TBIs is due to the number of studies that have been done on them over the past several decades, as well as developments in science and technology. This has resulted in better awareness and prevention measures.

Pyne cited an example of when he was involved in sports versus his experience with his children.

"It used to be, if you were able to play through them (brain injuries or concussions), you played through them. You were encouraged to," Pyne said. "I think we now have a whole lot more awareness that there are some problems with that, and that numerous concussions may result in some long-term problems that are difficult to bounce back from. That awareness and understanding has really changed from the time that I was young until the time that I was on the sidelines coaching my own kids."

These advancements are also translating into higher recovery rates.

"The advances that we’re making in severe and penetrating and moderate traumatic brain injury are remarkable. People who would never have recovered in the past are now able to do quite well, and that's based on advances in science," Pyne said. "We always knew it was bad, but I don't think we knew how to take care of it as well as we do now."

On the combat side, Pyne said that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and brain injuries often go hand-in-hand.

"It's very difficult to discern between the two, and I think they need to be evaluated and treated at the same time," Pyne said. "You can have PTSD without having a traumatic brain injury, and you can have a traumatic brain injury without PTSD, but sometimes they come together."

In fact, the TBICoE is studying the interaction between the two.

"We're finding that people who have an isolated traumatic brain injury do a lot better than those that have a traumatic brain injury and PTSD," Pyne said.

Military personnel in a field crotched over holding a gun
Marine Pfc. Daniel Yates, a rifleman with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, provides security while conducting a patrol after a simulated airfield seizure mission during a Realistic Urban Training exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, Feb. 21. (Photo by: Marine Sgt. Alexis Flores)

TBIs' impacts on memory and motor skills are also being studied.

"The other thing that we’ve learned quite a bit about is that when injured, people don’t function the same way as they did prior to their TBI. We know that people’s reaction time, their ability to focus, their ability to memorize things are all impacted," Pyne said."

In a combat environment these things have the potential to become life-threatening, both to an individual and those around them.

"On the athletic playing field, that may equate to you not playing well or your team not winning, but obviously the stakes are much higher in the deployed environment, where you not only have to protect yourself, but also your fellow service members," Pyne said.

"At the end of the day, if you get hit in the head and you can’t focus, think clearly, or concentrate, we need to pull you out of whatever game you’re playing, even if it's the game of life, and try to make you better," Pyne said. "So when you go back, you can go back as healthy and as close to functioning at your normal level as you were before you sustained that injury."

Pyne reiterated the fact that most TBIs occur in a non-deployed environment.

"In the DOD, the ways we think about this happening are when we're being shot at or things are blowing up, but things like standard motor vehicle crashes, falls, and sports are where we see a vast majority of concussions among service members," Pyne said.

"How do you prevent those things? You drive the speed limit, you wear a seatbelt or a helmet, and you're careful and aware of your environment."

Pyne said some key points to remember when assessing if you are “TBI-ready” include asking yourself:

  • Are you ready to prevent yourself from getting a TBI?

  • Are you ready to get yourself taken care of in the event you suffer a TBI?

  • Are you ready to take care of someone who may sustain a TBI, especially as a medical provider or a leader?

A simple bump of the head, coupled by "seeing stars," dizziness or confusion could be a concussion or TBI. The key is looking for signs and getting help if you need it.

He also said that, despite the negative discussions surrounding TBIs, most people fully recover from them.

"The vast majority of people who sustain a mild traumatic brain injury make a full recovery," Pyne said "I think we focus too much on the people who don’t get better and we tend to forget all the people who do get better."

The TBICoE also supports a multi-center network of military treatment facilities and Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers with TBI education and research initiatives. An array of resources from TBICoE are available to service members, their families and providers here on the Military Health System website.

You also may be interested in...

2000 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/6/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

2002 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/6/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions

2001 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/6/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions

2006 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/6/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Provider Resources | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Patient and Family Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | TBI Resources

2005 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/6/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Provider Resources | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Patient and Family Resources | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | TBI Resources

TBICoE Research Review: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Publication
8/4/2020

The purpose of this research review is to summarize the available peer-reviewed scientific literature regarding the definition, epidemiology, risk factors, pathology and clinical manifestations for CTE.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBICoE Research | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI Hot Topics Bulletin May 2020

Publication
8/4/2020

Are you a busy health care provider? Not enough time to keep up with research? Stay informed with the TBI Hot Topics Bulletin. We track the latest TBI scientific studies, advances, and discoveries most relevant to health care providers. This issue covers the first quarter of calendar year 2020.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | Research and Innovation

TBICoE Research Review: Mild TBI and PTSD

Publication
8/4/2020

This research review provides an overview of the topic of co-morbid mild TBI and posttraumatic stress disorder. This review focuses on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and mild TBI symptoms in patients with mild TBI history. While it can be difficult to differentiate symptoms of mild TBI from PTSD symptoms, especially months or years after the injury event, this review aims to present information relevant to understanding these often complex cases.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBICoE Research | Provider Resources

TBICoE Research Review: Multiple TBI/Multiple Concussion

Publication
8/4/2020

Prior history of TBI may predispose an individual to increased risk of subsequent TBI, which may result from less force, and lengthier recovery from post-injury symptoms. Activities such as contact sports and military service carry particular risk for multiple TBI. In addition to acute post-injury difficulties, cumulative TBI may increase the risk of chronic cognitive and functional impairment. Conservative management of post-injury symptoms as part of a medically monitored, progressive plan for returning to activities is recommended for individuals with a history of TBI.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBICoE Research

SCORE Chapter 2

Publication
8/4/2020

Psychoeducational Interventions for Persistent Post-Concussion Symptoms Following Combat-Related Mild TBI Chapter two summarizes the psychoeducational interventions used for the control group in the first SCORE treatment arm (SCORE Arm 1). This educational material has been specifically adapted for use with service members and veterans who experience a more chronic course of symptoms following combat-related concussion. Section one explains the background of psychoeducation in the treatment of mild TBI, and section two provides the psychoeducational tool, called the client’s guide to recovery.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources

SCORE Chapter 1

Publication
8/4/2020

Study of Cognitive Rehabilitation Effectiveness Clinical Trial Overview Chapter one provides a concise overview of the SCORE clinical trial and measures, plus the Congressional mandate for the study, and implications for the military and veterans.

Recommended Content:

Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

SCORE Chapter 3

Publication
8/4/2020

Computerized Cognitive Rehabilitation Interventions for Persistent Symptoms Mild TBI Chapter three describes the computerized cognitive rehabilitation interventions used in the second SCORE treatment arm (SCORE Arm 2).

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources

DVBIC Publications 2019

Publication
8/4/2020

Citation information for 2019 publications of DVBIC research.

Recommended Content:

Research and Development (J-9) | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBICoE Research

TBI Hot Topics Bulletin September 2020

Publication
8/4/2020

Are you a busy health care provider? Not enough time to keep up with research? Stay informed with the TBI Hot Topics Bulletin. We track the latest TBI scientific studies, advances, and discoveries most relevant to health care providers. This issue covers the second quarter of calendar year 2020.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

DVBIC Publications 1992-2018

Publication
8/4/2020

DVBIC research publications from 1992-2018.

Recommended Content:

Research and Development (J-9) | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | TBICoE Research
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.