How to foster your brain injury recovery

Thankfully, there continues to be growth in the public recognition and understanding of concussions, otherwise known as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs). There are jarring examples of this phenomenon in the media – especially the sports world.

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa          Photo credit: USA Today

Mild traumatic brain injuries – by the numbers

In 2016, it was estimated that 100-300 per 100,000 people seek medical treatment for mTBIs annually (NCBI study). In the US that would calculate out to be between 300,000 and 1,000,000 people per year that are dealing with the consequences of mild traumatic brain injuries.

In 2021, there were over 69,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States. These injuries are often associated with falls, motor vehicle crashes, or assaults. With these injuries being so common, debilitating, and potentially life-threatening, it’s important to share best practices on how to achieve a full and speedy recovery.

High-profile cases of TBI

Tua Tagovailoa: Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a string of concussions in 2022 that nearly ended his career. These days, the press is filled with stories about the prevalence of concussions and TBIs in professional football.

Abraham Lincoln: President Abraham Lincoln suffered a TBI at 10 years old, when a horse kicked him in the head. Though he moved forward with a successful law career, then on to the presidency, doctors believe that his depression, vision problems and headaches were likely a result of that injury.

Harriet Tubman: An enduring symbol of liberty and perseverance, Harriet Tubman overcame the odds to free countless slaves via the underground railroad. She achieved this all while suffering from seizures, headaches, and narcoleptic spells. She was injured by a two-pound weight that a shopkeeper had thrown at another person. She had a cracked skull and was unconscious for days but rose above this injury and its lifelong effects for the greater good.

George Clooney: While filming Syriana, actor George Clooney fell backward while tied to a chair, causing his head to knock against the floor. He required surgery and suffered from migraines and short-term memory loss but has since made a full recovery.

Muhammad Ali: This record-breaking boxer has been hit around 200,000 times over the course of his career and over half were blows to the head. His speech slowed over the course of his life, and he later developed Parkinson’s Syndrome. This neurological condition was brought on by brain damage.

man with a headache

What are the symptoms of a concussion or mTBI?

A mild traumatic brain injury can be a life-changing event. Symptoms can vary from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Fatigue or sleepiness
  • Problems with memory, concentration, or thinking
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Behavior changes
  • Mood changes

In some cases, someone with a mTBI may experience even more serious symptoms, such as seizures, loss of consciousness, or difficulty walking.

While there is no cure for concussion, there are a variety of treatments to help aid recovery. If you or someone you know has suffered a TBI or mTBI, promptly seek treatment and discuss your options. The options presented here are purely for educational purposes and cannot substitute for the advice of your medical provider.

Five treatments patients can do to foster brain injury recovery

Physical therapy

Physical therapy utilizes methods such as exercise, stretching, and massage to treat injuries. When it comes to concussions, physical therapy may help to improve balance, coordination, and strength. It can also help to reduce pain and improve range of motion for any associated injuries.

Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is a wide-ranging discipline that helps people of all ability levels to function. When dealing with concussions, occupational therapy may help to improve daily living skills such as dressing, bathing, and eating. It can also help to reduce fatigue and improve concentration.

speech therapist working for a child

Speech therapy

Speech therapy is a discipline focused on improving muscles and processes related to communication. In concussion patients, speech therapy makes speech clearer, helps a patient express their thoughts more effectively, gain a better understanding of written communication, and improve attention during daily tasks and activities. Speech therapy can also help to reduce swallowing problems.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 

Cognitive therapy is based on the concept that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all connected and how we think can impact how we feel. Through techniques such as activity scheduling, graded exposure assignments, and mindfulness training, therapists can help to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help to manage emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression.

Vestibular therapy

Vestibular therapy focuses on improving balance and coordination. It can help to reduce dizziness, nausea, and imbalance. Vestibular therapy typically involves a series of exercises that are designed to challenge the vestibular system. These exercises may involve moving the head and eyes in different directions or standing on unstable surfaces. The goal is to help the brain learn to adapt to the changes that have been caused by brain injury. It can be an effective way to improve balance and coordination after a brain injury.

What everyday things can I do to improve my TBI?

Here are some general things that patients may try to help their brain injury recovery. These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Minimizing stress
  • Staying active
  • Maintaining connections with friends and family members
  • Having realistic expectations about your recovery

Recovery from a brain injury can be a long and challenging process. However, with the right support and treatment, many patients can make significant progress and regain a meaningful quality of life.

Randall Lee Appleton


While there is no known cure for a mTBI, there are a number of options available to people who have suffered these injuries. If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, please contact one of the experienced brain injury attorneys at Allen & Allen so we can discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to recovery. For a free case evaluation, call 866-388-1307.