Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when external physical forces cause damage to the brain, whether from impact, penetrating objects, blast waves or rapid movement of the brain within the skull. TBI severity has been classified as mild, moderate or severe based primarily on the Glasgow Coma Scale in combination with an assessment of periods of loss/alterations of consciousness and imaging scans of the brain. The classification of mild TBI also includes concussion, commonly defined as a transient alteration of brain function after exposure to external physical forces. While short-term TBI can be life threatening in some cases, TBI also can have long-term sequelae including cognitive dysfunction, pain, sleep disorders and physical disability collectively known as the post-concussion syndrome (PCS). PCS results when various symptoms of TBI last weeks, months or more than a year following the TBI incident. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a delayed neurodegenerative disorder that was initially identified in the postmortem brains of subjects with a history of repetitive brain injuries. Diagnostic criteria for CTE and the associated Traumatic Encephalopathy Syndrome (TES) are being investigated further.
The TBI program at NINDS provides support and funds to extramural researchers studying basic, clinical and translational TBI research. NINDS-funded research includes studies to understand mechanisms of TBI and its sequelae, preclinical and clinical studies for diagnosis, prognosis, potential therapeutics, and other aspects of TBI.
Estimates of Funding for Various Research, Condition, and Disease Categories
|Research/Disease Areas*||FY 2013
|Injury - Traumatic Brain Injury||$88||$87||$93||$105||$116||$133||$134||$179||$184||$192|
*Dollars in millions and rounded
Related Federal Programs
- The Administration for Community Living (ACL) for Traumatic Brain Injury
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion and Heads UP
- Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Psychological Health/Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program (PH/TBIRP)
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation R&D Services for Traumatic Brain Injury
- National Research Action Plan (pdf, 2.2 mb)
- Alzheimer's Disease-Related Dementias Virtual Summit 2022
Proceedings & Outcomes
- Third Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR) Stakeholders Meeting
- The Neuropathological Diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): Next Steps [Video Day 1 & Day 2] November 6-7, 2019 | Bethesda, MD
- International Initiative For Traumatic Brain Injury Research (InTBIR) 2019 [Video Day 1 & Day 2] October 24-25, 2019 | Bethesda, MD
- Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury in Women [Summary pdf, 599 kb]
[Video Day 1 & Day 2]
December 18-19, 2017 | Bethesda, MD
- InTBIR 2017 [Summary] (pdf, 526 kb)
October 30-31, 2017 | Rockville, MD
- Environmental Sensor use for Quantifying Neural Exposure to Inertial and Blast Forces [Summary] (pdf, 309 kb)
National Neurotrauma Society Ancillary Symposium
July 8, 2017 | Snowbird, UT
- Pediatric Concussion Workshop [Video Day 1 & Day 2]
October 13-14, 2016 | North Bethesda, MD
- Report: Sports & Health Research Stakeholders Meeting
March 31, 2015
- Report from the First NIH Consensus Conference to Define the Neuropathological Criteria for the Diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Resources and Tools
To receive regular updates on funding announcements and other opportunities, please join the NINDS TBI Research Listserv.
News & Events
NINDS strongly encourages researchers who receive funding from the Institute to use these common data elements (CDEs) in their clinical research.
- TBI specific CDEs can be found at: NINDS CDE for Traumatic Brain Injury
- A comprehensive list of CDEs from across NIH can be found at the National Library of Medicine (NLM)’s NIH CDE repository
- Utilizations of CDEs for reporting both clinical and preclinical findings is a good practice that will help researchers in compliance with data sharing tools in the future. NIH will implement their Data Management and Sharing Policy in 2023. For more information, please visit NIH Data Management and Sharing Activities Related to Public Access and Open Science.
- Executive Order: Improving Access to Mental Health Services for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families (August 31, 2012)
Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR)
The FITBIR Informatics System is a database developed by the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health to share data, associated tools and methodologies. NINDS has specific FITBIR requirements for larger Clinical Research studies.
InTBIR is a cooperative international effort to coordinate clinical research activities, increase data sharing, and leverage global research opportunities.