How to prevent, treat traumatic brain injuries

  • Published
  • By TRICARE Communications

According to the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, nearly half a million service members have been diagnosed with a first-time traumatic brain injury, or TBI, since 2000.

Head injuries can happen anywhere. In fact, most TBIs happen when service members are in non-deployed settings. Here’s how you can be ready, and resources to help you prevent or recover from a brain injury.
How to Prevent TBIs
A TBI is the result of a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Different types of activities, like military training exercises, sports, falls, and car accidents can lead to TBI. How can you reduce your chances of a TBI? You can minimize your risk through safety measures and paying attention to your surroundings.

  • Wear a seatbelt or a helmet when driving or riding in a vehicle
  • Buckle children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seatbelt (according to the child’s height, weight, and age)
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Make living areas safer for seniors and children

How to Identify TBIs
It’s important you know the signs and symptoms of a TBI. TBI symptoms can range from mild to serious and can be physical, cognitive, and emotional.

  • Headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Memory problems
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Trouble sleeping

If you think you have a TBI, don’t leave it untreated. Anyone with signs of a possible TBI should see a health care provider, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, seek medical care as soon as possible after the injury.
How to Get Care for a TBI
TBI is treatable, and recovery is expected with the right care. According to the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, “the most common form of TBI in the military is mild, and is also known as a concussion.” And most people who suffer from a mild TBI recover completely. More serious injuries, however, can lead to other medical problems.
Part of being ready is learning what resources are available. There are many helpful patient and family resources you can access to help you learn the causes and symptoms of TBI, when to seek care, as well as how to support recovery. Check out the TBI resources from:

TRICARE covers a wide range of health care services. You can go to the Covered Services section of the TRICARE website to search for services to help with TBI recovery, such as cognitive rehabilitation therapy.
A TBI can impact your health and quality of life, so be sure to take actions to maintain a healthy brain and prevent or recover from a TBI. If you have questions about TBI, talk to your health care provider. And refer to the TBI resources for service members and family members on the TRICARE and Military Health System websites.