Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

February 15, 2022

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a devastating injury to the brain that can affect any part of a person’s body. We all think, feel emotions, and use our bodies in our daily lives. A TBI can significantly impair any of these functions and can be a life-long disability.

A TBI is defined as an external blow to the head resulting in brain functioning deficits. Injuries resulting in low oxygen to the brain (hypoxia) are also considered TBI’s. Brain injuries are a leading cause of disability and death for adolescents and young adults. Falls and motor vehicle accidents are the two most common causes of this injury.

Each year in Tennessee at least 8,000 people suffer a TBI severe enough to be reported to the Tennessee Department of Health. To address this health crisis, the Tennessee General Assembly created the Tennessee Traumatic Brain Injury Program in 1993. The Tennessee Traumatic Brain Injury Program established eight TBI Service Coordinators (SCs) across Tennessee to directly help people living with brain injuries.

TBI Service Coordinator

So, what does a Service Coordinator do? It depends on what the TBI survivor needs! SCs can help people get free medicine or apply for Social Security and other benefits. They can also connect people with vocational rehabilitation services, counseling, or support groups. Sometimes just having a TBI professional to talk to is what people need.

SCs services are unique to every individual. For example, after a motorcycle accident a person with a TBI and significant physical injuries may no longer be able to work and struggle with applying for Social Security. Brain fog and confusion may make it too hard to fill out forms. An SC could support this person through the Social Security application process and eventually help them get the benefits they need.

Another person might have received a TBI while they were deployed with the military. The impact of their injuries and the trauma of war could make acclimating to civilian life very difficult. An SC could help them find a counselor and support group to assist them in getting the mental health and community support they need to thrive.

Get Help

There are Service Coordinators across Tennessee. There are two at Disability Rights Tennessee.

Contact Holland and Rick for more information about TBI services in Tennessee.

You can also find TBI resources on Disability Rights Tennessee’s website.  View TBI Resources.