Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury vs. Concussion

  • June 12th, 2012
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What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain caused by the head being hit by something or shaken violently. There are three severities of TBI: mild, moderate, and severe. A traumatic brain injury can change how a student learns, thinks, performs, and behaves in school.

The definition of TBI below comes from federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA defines traumatic brain injury as…
“…an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psycho-social behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.” [34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.8©(12)]

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Doctors may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious and sometimes long term. (Centers for Disease Control,

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