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Traumatic Brain Injury Program

Traumatic Brain Injury Program

Traumatic Brain Injury Slideshow Image

The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program was established by the Tennessee General Assembly to address the needs of those individuals who have sustained a brain injury, as well as their family members and primary caregivers.

Traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI, is defined as an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial disability or impairment. TBI frequently results from motor vehicle crashes or from falls when the head abruptly stops moving and the brain smashes into the hard walls of the skull.

Many people with TBI do not “look” injured. Because the injured brain is not visible to the naked eye, problems with memory, planning and organizational abilities, and/or judgment often appear in subtle ways. In some cases, even a minor bump on the head can cause ongoing problems and lead to losing a job or problems with family life.

Depending on what area of the brain is injured, people with brain injuries may suffer from poor short-term memory and difficulty with organization, concentration, and judgment. They may experience headaches, seizures, and decreased muscular strength and coordination.

Traumatic Brain Injury Program staff are available to respond to questions, make referrals, and provide education and training. The initial contact can be the first link in a chain of support for a survivor or family member.

TBI Program Services Information Clearinghouse

The TBI Program is the central office for brain injury information in the state. Numerous materials including articles, books, videos, and pamphlets are available to survivors, family members and professionals. A comprehensive resource directory, The Traumatic Brain Injury Services Directory and Resource Guide is distributed statewide. A toll-free number (1-800-882-0611) is available to give immediate information regarding traumatic brain injury to individuals all across Tennessee.

The Facts

  • In the U.S., an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually.
  • Each year TBI contributes to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability.
  • About 75% of TBI’s that occur are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury.
  • Each year in Tennessee, approximately 8,000 people are admitted to the hospital with a brain injury.
  • In every age group, TBI rates are higher for males than females.
  • Children ages 0 to 4 years, adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, and adults aged 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI.
  • In Tennessee, the three leading causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle accidents and homicide or violent injuries.

Service Coordination

There are currently eight Service Coordinators located in various non-profit agencies across the state providing assistance to survivors and family members. The service coordinator’s role is to work with survivors and their families to assess their current resources and needs. The service coordinator:

  • develops a comprehensive plan of care
  • provides referrals to available resources
  • coordinates services for individual client advocacy
  • bridges gaps in the service delivery system.

The goal of the service coordination project is to improve the quality of life for persons with a brain injury and their family members. The service coordinator will assist with “filling in the gaps.” Services are provided free of charge. 

Brain injury support groups have been established in many locations across the state.

Project Brain

In April 2000, the TBI Program was awarded federal grant money to provide education and training to educators, families, and health professionals who support students with TBI. The goal of Project Brain is to improve educational outcomes for children with brain injuries in Tennessee. Local Resource Teams are being developed and trained to provide consultation in local school systems long-term. The Tennessee Disability Coalition is implementing the project in partnership with the TBI program.

Traumatic Brain Injury Registry

Hospitals are mandated to provide information to the Department of Health on all individuals with brain injury that are admitted to the hospital overnight. Data is available starting from the first quarter of 1996 and contains information on the nature and cause of the injury. Analysis of the data allows staff to pinpoint where and how injuries are occurring, what age groups are affected, and enables the development of programs to prevent injuries. All Tennessee residents listed on the registry receive a letter to inform them of the services available through the TBI Program. Each year approximately 8,000 persons in Tennessee are admitted to the hospital with at least one diagnostic code for head injury.

Click here for the latest edition of the TBI Registry newsletter.

Seeking Nominations to TBI Advisory Council

The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program is looking for people who understand the unique needs of persons with brain injury to serve on the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council. Appointments are made annually by the governor for a term that begins in January and lasts two years. The duties of members are to advise the TBI coordinator and to make recommendations that will assist TBI persons and their families. Members do not receive compensation but are reimbursed for travel expenses. The quarterly meetings are usually scheduled on a Monday from 9:30 am until 12:00 pm in Nashville.

If you wish to be considered for appointment to the Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council, or wish to nominate someone for appointment, the instructions are as follows:

  1. The nominee should complete the two attached forms:
    Application for Gubernatorial Appointment to a Board or Commission
    Application for Appointment to TBI Advisory Council
  2. Attach a current resume, biographical sketch or letter describing the nominee’s experiences with or interest in brain injury.
  3. Email the completed forms and attachments to:

Call 800-882-0611 for more information.

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2014.


The TBI Program collaborates with Easter Seals Tennessee to sponsor weekend and weeklong camps for adult and youth survivors of brain injury. These camps focus on providing a unique social and recreational opportunity to persons with brain injury. All cabins are air conditioned and include accessible shower facilities. Camp activities include arts and crafts, swimming, hiking, games, boating, and a dance. There is a $100 application fee per camp. Scholarships are available through the state TBI program. For more information, call the TBI office at (800) 882-0611. To request an application, call Easter Seals at (615) 292-6640.

Upcoming Events

15th Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center Brain Injury Workshop: Focus on Vision and Balance in the Brain Injury Patient
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Knoxville, Tennessee
Brochure: Pat Neal 2014 Brain Injury Workshop

Links to TBI Resources


For more information on the Traumatic Brain Injury Program, call 1-800-882-0611.

Jean Doster, Director
Traumatic Brain Injury Program
Clinical Services, 7th floor, AJT
710 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, Tennessee 37243