Brain injury can strike anyone at any time.

While these injuries are always unexpected and life-altering, brain injuries vary widely in severity, and each case is unique. It’s also an invisible injury that can sometimes affect the entire body, from mental health and cognition to physical ability. 

If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury, the first thing you need to know is you are not alone. The mission of the Brian Injury Association of Tennessee is to accompany you throughout this journey. Whether it’s directing you to a nearby accredited clinic, navigating paperwork, or connecting you with a support group with other survivors, BIAT exists to help you understand your injury and the resources available to help you. 

Brain Injury Association of America defines traumatic brain injury (TBI) as an alteration in brain function, or other evidence of brain pathology, caused by an external force. Often referred to as an acquired brain injury, a non-traumatic brain injury causes damage to the brain by internal factors, such as a lack of oxygen, exposure to toxins, pressure from a tumor, etc. 

Symptoms of brain injury can include:

Spinal fluid (thin, clear liquid) coming out of the ears or loss of consciousness 
Dilated (the black center of the eye is large and does not get smaller in light) or unequal size of pupils
Vision changes (blurred vision or seeing double, not able to tolerate bright light, loss of eye movement, blindness)
Dizziness
Balance problems
Respiratory failure (difficulty breathing)
Emotional Instability
Coma (not alert and unable to respond to others) or semi-comatose state
Paralysis, or difficulty moving body parts
Cognitive deficits/problems
Confusion

Learn more about the causes and symptoms of brain injury from the Brain Injury Association of America or from our Traumapedia.

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Recovery from a brain injury is complex. While research shows that therapy can improve outcomes, the patient and their support system must remain actively involved throughout recovery.
Candice Smith, BSN, RN, CCRN-K
Research Nurse Specialist III
Vanderbilt Brain Injury Center