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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

This federally funded grant project focuses on the provision of education and training for school personnel, families, and health professionals who support students with TBI. The overall goal of Project BRAIN is to improve educational outcomes for children with brain injuries in Tennessee. The program has expanded since its inception in 2000 to encompass the continuum of care from hospital to home to school. Project BRAIN supports a brain injury transition liaison in three children’s hospitals across the state, providing assistance to families of injured children. For more information, call Paula Denslow, Director at (615) 585-2998

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 TBI Fact Sheet.


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

Youth Sports Safety Conference, July 17, 2015 in Nashville

The purpose of this conference is to offer health care professionals, educators, administrators, coaches and parents from across the county an ideal opportunity to learn about the latest information regarding the health and wellness of young athletes. Through a series of lectures and small group sessions, conference attendees will be provided with the most current information and tools for creating a game plan that promotes health and safety for young athletes.


Free online concussion training for Health Care Providers:

Brain injury survivor stories and videos:

Free online continuing education for clinicians:

School wide concussion management with training for athletes, parents, educators, & coaches

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