Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Disabilities Awareness and Resources

Created to provide insights and information about disabilities.

What is traumatic brain injury?

What is traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a form of an acquired brain injury. Acquired brain injuries are injuries to the brain, that are not hereditary, Black and white drawing of a braincongenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth.

TBI is a "physical injury to brain tissue that temporarily or permanently impairs brain function." TBIs can be mild to severe and can present as a complex and varied array of symptoms. 

According to the CDC, TBI can result in short and long term problems that affect vision, attention, memory, perception, and more. TBI can also alter personality, create mood disorders, and increase aggressive behavior.

For the purposes of this guide, we will mostly be referring to traumatic brain injuries, as that type of acquired brain injury is most widely defined and discussed. However, we will list resources on acquired brain injuries when available.


TBI is caused by an external force that results in impaired brain functioning. This can occur from events such as:

  • Car crashes
  • Gunshot wounds to the head
  • Falls
  • Objects falling on the head
  • Violent assaults

Non-traumatic acquired brain injuries can be caused by:

  • stroke
  • bleeding in the brain
  • lack of oxygen to the brain
  • infections
  • brain tumors