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Surveillance for Traumatic Brain Injury in Tennessee

Surveillance Summary, January-June 2014




An estimated 8, 000 people each year sustain a traumatic

brain injury in Tennessee. A Traumatic Brain Injury

(TBI) is defined as an acquired injury to the brain caused

by an external physical force that may result in impairment,

partial or total disability, or death.


For more information please Download the PDF.



The Brain Injury Association of Tennessee provides the following services:


Service Coordination in the Middle TN area

The Service Coordinator's role is to work with survivors and their families to assess their current resources and needs.


TBI Families Share Peer Mentoring

TBI Families Share helps bring people together to talk about living with a brain injury. Both the mentor and the partner learn from one another.


Caregiver Support Network

This network may benefit you if:


  • because of family trauma, you find yourself living in an alternative universe called "brain injury," your world is suddenly upside down, and you are trying to find your way.
  • you provide ancillary assistance to a caregiver as part of a total support network.
  • you find yourself with "compassion fatigue" and would like to understand how to better avoid that problem.
  • you are providing the main resources in the care of someone living with a brain injury and would like support for yourself in the process.


Support Groups (Survivors and Families)

The Brain Injury Association of Tennessee helps to organize and facilitate several support groups in Tennessee.


Statewide Annual Conference

This year's annual conference, "Voices of Brain Injury," was held on March 28, 2014 in Nashville, TN.




Tennessee State Resources


Download the State of Tennessee Traumatic Brain Injury Services Directory and Resource Information Guide.


For additional information about resources and services available in your area, contact your local Service Coordinator.


Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association

The goal of the Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association is to improve the quality of life for persons with a brain injury and their families. Last year, the Chattanooga Area Brain Injury Association served more than 350 brain injury survivors and their family members through vital services that help them understand and adapt to the trauma that has consumed their lives.


Council on Developmental Disabilities

They offer a "Partners in Policy Making" class for people with disabilities and their families. This is a free class that is held from Sept - April one weekend a month except December. Food, hotel room and class supplies are included.


Disability Rights Tennessee

Disability Rights Tennessee advocates for the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities to ensure they have an equal opportunity to be productive and respected members of our society.


Easter Seals

The mission of Easter Seals Tennessee is to provide exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their community.


Project BRAIN

Project Brain is a resource and training network for education professionals, health professionals, and families who support students in Tennessee with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Partially funded by federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), this project is managed by the Tennessee Disability Coalition in partnership with the Traumatic Brain Injury Program of the Tennessee Health Department.


Service Coordination Program

Service coordination is designed to help bridge the gaps in provision of services to survivors of brain injury and their family members. The service coordinator will help to identify services within their geographical service area that would be of benefit to the consumer.


Tennessee Department Of Health



Tennessee Disability Coalition

The Disability Coalition is a statewide alliance of advocacy, planning, service provider, and professional organizations, and individuals committed to creating a society that values, includes, and supports individuals with disabilities and their families.


United Cerebral Palsy of Middle TN

United Cerebral Palsy of Middle TN has programs for people with all disabilities, not just cerebral palsy. They have several programs including equipment exchange, sports night, and wheelchair ramps.


Vanderbilt Trauma Survivors Network

Trauma Survivors Network understands that coping with a traumatic event goes on long after the crisis is over. That's why we developed the Vanderbilt Trauma Survivors Network, a group of trauma survivors, their families and friends dedicated to supporting one another.


Medicare Coverage Guidance



National TBI Resources


Assisted Living Research Institute

The right choice depends on a number of factors, including support needs, expense, and personal preference.


Angel MedFlight

At Angel MedFlight, we frequently transport patients for rehabilitation or home care after an accident, injury or illness. Our medical team members are experienced in transporting and treating patients with traumatic brain injuries. Our flight nurses and paramedics understand the dramatic life changes our patients and their families have gone through, and work to make these flights as calm and comfortable as possible.


Brain Injury Association of America

The mission of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment and education and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury. They are dedicated to increasing access to quality health care and raising awareness and understanding of brain injury.


The Brain Trauma Foundation

Since 1986, the Brain Trauma Foundation dedicated its mission to improving TBI patient outcomes worldwide by developing best practice guidelines, conducting clinical research, and educating medical professionals and consumers.



BrainLine is a national multimedia project offering information and resources about preventing, treating, and living with TBI. BrainLine includes a series of webcasts, an electronic newsletter, and an extensive outreach campaign in partnership with national organizations concerned about traumatic brain injury.


Facts About TBI

The Centers for Disease Control covers brain injury topics including concussion and mild TBI, severe TBI, concussion in sports, clinical diagnosis and management, TBI statistics, long-term outcomes, causes and risks of TBI, and prevention.


Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic covers brain injury topics including definition, symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, tests and diagnosis, treatments and drugs, prevention, and coping and support.


TBI Model Systems

The TBI Model Systems website has consumer fact sheets about TBI topics including understanding TBI, sleep, driving, cognitive and emotional problems, fatigue, seizures, returning to school, headaches, depression, rehabilitation, balance problems, and sexuality.


Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Information Network

This website is also part of the TBI Model Systems, and includes a list of home-based cognitive stimulation activities, rehab tip sheets, and TBI newsletters.


Understanding Brain Injury

A series of videos covering brain injury basics, anatomy of the brain, TBI causes, effects, and classifications, acquired brain injury, and practical advice for coping with brain injury.


Cerebral Palsy Causes

Cerebral Palsy Guide provides parents with information to better understand their child’s diagnosis like the causes and treatments of cerebral palsy.


Cerebral Palsy Group

The Cerebral Palsy Group is dedicated to providing information, material and resources that is available to both families as well as those who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.


Specific Topics and Populations


The Comprehensive Guide to Sleep Deprivation


Medicare Plan Explanation


Children with TBI

The Pediatric Brain Injury Foundation's mission is to provide knowledge and support to families and caretakers of children with Brain injury, and advocate for those children. Their primary focus is to educate parents and caretakers about Brain Injury and provide referral support to connect them with available services. Our secondary focus is to advocate for children who have survived a TBI as a result of abuse.


Mayo Clinic

Understanding Brain Injury: A Guide for Employers is one of the most-requested publications offered by the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic. This useful guide for employers provides information about what to expect, what to watch for, and how to help employees who have sustained brain

injuries adjust to the workplace.



Continuum of Care after TBI

This page on the Brain Injury Association of America depicts brain injury treatment in an orderly progression from trauma care to community integration. But very little about brain injury is orderly. Individuals who sustain brain injuries may enter, exit and re-enter treatment at any point along the continuum. Treatment may be needed continuously or on an intermittent basis throughout the individual's lifespan.


Instrumental Needs

This winter 2013 Shepard Center magazine covers a variety of TBI topics. Page 27 of the magazine has a list of organizations that support fundraising for families impacted by TBI.


Military OneSource

Military OneSource information on TBI, including types of TBI, symptoms, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation, and a section for family members.


Rancho Levels of Cognitive Functioning

This website will explain the "Rancho Levels" that may be used in the hospital. The Rancho Levels of Cognitive Functioning is an evaluation tool used by the rehabilitation team. The eight levels describe the patterns or stages of recovery typically seen after a brain injury. This helps the team understand and focus on the person's abilities and design an appropriate treatment program.


Veterans and TBI

The mission of the Defense and Veterans Vrain Injury Center is to serve the active duty military, their beneficiaries and veterans with traumatic brain injuries through state-of-the-art clinical care, innovative clinical research intiatives and educational programs, and support for force health protection services. DVBIC fulfills this mission through ongoing collaboration with the DoD, military services, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), civilian health partners, local communities, familites and individual with TBI.


TN Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services staff investigate reports of abuse, neglect (including self-neglect) or financial exploitation of adults who are unable to protect themselves due to a physical or mental limitation. See also


Aging and Disability



Psychosocial Resources for Survivors and Caregivers



A BrainLine webpage that covers the experience of caregiving and brain injury: For people whose loved one sustains a traumatic brain injury, especially a moderate to severe injury, becoming a caregiver can happen suddenly, without warning. One day you are in the office answering emails or out in the garden pulling weeds and the next your loved one is seriously injured and everything has changed.??Few illnesses or injuries result in the devastating and overwhelming damage that can accompany severe brain injury. The loved one who sustains a brain injury is no longer the same person: he or she may behave differently, think differently, and take in the world differently. And when one member of a family changes, the entire family changes.


Caregiver Guide

A guide for caregivers that is produced by the Shepard Center.


Family and Caregivers

The Family and Caregivers webpage from the Brain Injury Association of America covers the immediate aftermath of brain injury, later in the hospital, managing at home, managing stress, long-term issues, and useful resources and information.


National Center on Caregiving

The National Center on Caregiving that assists the caregiver in coping with behavior problems after the brain injury.


Survivor Guilt

While survivor guilt is not experienced by everyone, and may vary a great deal in intensity, it appears to be a common experience. The following article answers some questions survivors may have after experiencing a tragedy.


The Recovery Village

Dedicated to helping those struggling with substance abuse into recovery. We understand the unique responsibilities of caregivers and how their selfless role can be both rewarding and stressful, causing some to turn to various forms of substance abuse to cope; we believe education can help prevent this.





Qualifying for Social Security Benefits After a Brain Injury

If you or someone you love has a traumatic brain injury (TBI), there might be financial resources available for you. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for people in need who are unable to work due to a serious disability or illness. TBIs can certainly qualify for Social Security benefits, and you may be eligible for monthly payments to help pay for your medical care and rehabilitation, childcare, and other daily living expenses.

Medically Qualifying With a TBI

The SSA always uses its medical criteria outlined in its medical guide known as the “Blue Book” to evaluate disability applicants. To qualify for Social Security benefits, you’ll need to have medical evidence showing you meet one of the two listings for a TBI under Blue Book Section 11.18:

#1: You can qualify if you have difficulty moving two “extremities” (fingers, wrists, hands, legs, etc.), which results in an extreme limitation in your ability to stand up from a seated position, maintain your balance when walking, or complete any fine motor skills with your hands. Keep in mind that you will not have to meet both the lower and upper extremity qualifications to be approved—Difficulty moving your arms or your legs will qualify.

For example, if your TBI prevents you from standing up without the assistance of someone else, a walker, or crutches, you will qualify for disability benefits.

#2: You can also qualify if you have physical limitations that prevent you from working*, plus limitations in at least one of the following areas of intellectual functioning:

  • Understanding, remembering, and using information
  • Interacting with others (communicating with coworkers, for example)
  • Concentrating and completing tasks
  • Controlling your emotions or behavior in a work setting

*What does the SSA consider “physical limitations” to be under the second TBI listing? While they’re not as severe as the first listing, but disability examiners do want to see medical evidence proving that you are “seriously limited in the ability to independently initiate, sustain, and complete work-related physical activities.” So while you may be allowed to stand and balance without assistance, you’ll need to prove that your TBI still keeps you from working in an office or other income-earning setting. The SSA considers “working” as earning more than $1,170 per month in 2017.

The entire Blue Book is available online, so you can review the specific TBI listings with your doctor, therapist, or other medical provider to get a better idea as to whether or not you’ll qualify.

Starting Your Application

Both Blue Book listings for TBIs require that your symptoms have persisted for at least three months after your injury, so do not apply for disability if you recently experienced a TBI. Your claim will be automatically denied, regardless of the severity of your symptoms.

After three months have passed, you can apply for Social Security benefits either online or at your closest Social Security office. Applying online is the easiest method, as you can save your application to be completed at a later date. If you’d still prefer to apply in person, you can call the SSA toll-free to schedule an appointment at 1-800-772-1213.

Once approved, you can focus on your health, family, and therapies.

This article was provided by Disability Benefits Help (www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org). If you have any questions on how to qualify with a TBI, or would like more information in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at help@ssd-help.org


Brain Injury Association of Tennessee

955 Woodland St

Nashville, TN 37206


Office: (615) 248-2541

Fax: (615) 383-1176

Helpline: (800) 444-6443

© 2015 Brain Injury Association of Tennessee. All Rights Reserved