Myth 10: Mild TBI is not disabling.

This myth has been rejected by the National Institute of Health. In its consensus statement, NIH writes that the consequences of TBI include a dramatic change in the individual’s life course, profound disruption of family, enormous loss of income or earning potential and large expenses over a lifetime.

There are approximately 300,000 hospital admissions annually for persons with mild or moderate TBI and an additional unknown number of traumatic brain injuries that are not diagnosed but may result in long-term disability.

The social consequences of mild, moderate and severe TBI are many and serious, including increased risk of suicide, divorce, chronic unemployment, economic strain and substance abuse.

Graham Teasdale, writing in the British Medical Journal, examined the disability effects on young people and adults one year after head injury. When the study was conceived, the authors believed the research would show that persons with severe and moderate traumatic brain injury had greater and longer disability than patients with mild traumatic brain injury. They were surprised what the research told them. Survival with moderate or severe disability was common after mild head injury and similar to that after moderate or severe injury. The incidents of disability in young people and adults with a head injury were higher than expected.

At the World Congress of Traumatic Brain Injury in Melbourne, Australia in 2005, Dr. Teasdale reported on his follow-up research five years after his initial paper was published. He reported that patients with mild TBI are still symptomatic and still suffering long-term disability.

You can read my other posts on the 10 myths of traumatic brain injuries here.