Definitions of ABI and TBI

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

     The position of the Brain Injury Network is that acquired brain injury (ABI) includes traumatic brain injuries (TBI's), strokes, brain illness, and any other kind of brain injury acquired after birth. However, ABI does not include what are classified as degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease. 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

     "A traumatically induced structural injury and/or physiological disruption of brain function as a result of an external force that is indicated by new onset or worsening of at least one of the following clinical signs, immediately following the event:

  • Any period of loss of or a decreased level of consciousness;
  • Any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the injury;
  • Any alternation in mental state at the time of the injury (confusion, disorientation, slowed thinking, etc.);
  • Neurological deficits (weakness, loss of balance,  change in vision, praxis, paresis/plegia, sensory loss, aphasia, etc.) that may or may not be transient;
  • Intracranial lesion.
  • External forces may include any of the following events: the head being struck by an object, the head striking an object, the brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to the head, a foreign body penetrating the brain,forces generated from events such as a blast or explosion, or other force yet to be defined.”

Birth Trauma and Brain Injury

There is one subject regarding forms of TBI that is the source of some disagreement and that is with regard to the subject of brain injury produced by birth trauma. Generally speaking, brain trauma produced by the process of birth has been specifically excluded from being classified as a form of TBI by medical definitions. However, there are many mothers of babies being born with these birth brain injuries who are upset by that exclusion. They see birth complications that result in these brain injuries as being forms of TBI. Some of these mothers see their children as being survivors of TBI, and they do not like that their children are excluded from this category.