LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Most people associate traumatic brain injuries with military combat operations or football injuries. In reality, any jolt or strike to the head that may cause the brain to shake violently can result in a TBI. Events resulting in a TBI can include a bicycle incident, a slip and fall in your kitchen or a motor vehicle accident. TBIs effect several aspects of functioning and may involve cognitive impairment, emotional dysregulation or physical problems.
Cognitive impairments can include limitations in concentration, focus and attention. TBIs can also affect short-term and long-term memory and retention. In some cases, an individual may be misdiagnosed with attention deficit disorder due to the similarity of symptoms. Some may also experience difficulty or delays with rate, volume and articulation of speech, reading, writing and executive functioning.
Physical impairments may include balance, gait, hearing or sight impairments and other sensory related deficiencies. Other physical problems can range from headaches to loss of consciousness. TBIs can also affect people socially and emotionally. These difficulties may include sudden changes in mood, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
TBIs are diagnosed by primary care managers/providers and are based on an evaluation that includes clinical presentation, history of symptoms, patient reports, CT scans and MRIs. Although the medical diagnosis is primarily made by your PCM, the symptoms caused by TBI are often managed by an interdisciplinary team, which may include doctors, neuropsychologists, speech-language pathologists, mental health professionals and many others.
If you suspect you may have a TBI, schedule an appointment with your PCM to discuss your concerns.