Types, Causes & Prevention

Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Educational Resources > Types, Causes & Prevention

Neurologic injury has many forms resulting from several causes. These broad categories include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Damage to living brain tissue caused by an external, mechanical force. It is usually characterized by a period of altered consciousness (amnesia or coma) that can be very brief (minutes) or very long (months/indefinitely). The specific disabling condition(s) may be orthopedic, visual, aural, neurologic, perceptive/cognitive, or mental/emotional in nature. The term does not include brain injuries that are caused by insufficient blood supply, toxic substances, malignancy, disease producing organisms, congenital disorders, birth trauma or degenerative processes.

    TBI may result from:

    • Motor vehicle accident
    • Fall
    • Sports injury
    • Assault
    • Penetrating head injury

    Causes of Injury

    View the leading causes of brain injury.

  • Closed Head Injury (CHI)): A subset of a traumatic brain injury in which the skull is not breeched. Occurs when the head accelerates and then rapidly decelerates or collides with another object (for example the windshield of a car) and brain tissue is damaged, not by the presence of a foreign object within the brain, but by violent smashing, stretching, and twisting, of brain tissue. Closed brain injuries typically cause diffuse tissue damage that result in disabilities which are generalized and highly variable.
  • Acquired Brain Injury (ABI): The implication of this term is that the individual experienced normal growth and development from conception through birth, until sustaining an insult to the brain at some later time which resulted in impairment of brain function.

    Types of acquired brain injury:

    • Abscess
    • Aneurysm
    • Anoxia/hypoxia
    • Arterioveneous Malformation (AVM)
    • Encephalitis
    • Fetal alcohol syndrome
    • Meningitis
    • Metabolic encephalopathy
    • Seizure disorder
    • Stroke
    • Tourette syndrome
    • Toxic exposure
    • Tumor

    Types of Injury

    Neurologic injuries vary in their type and the resulting damage they bring about. Learn more about the different types of brain injury such as those listed above.


Explore ways to reduce the risk of getting a brain injury through a healthy lifestyle, medical management, vehicle safety, and sports safety.

MARCH is brain injury awareness month.


Useful links to external websites regarding neurologic injury and its prevention.