Traumatic Brain Injury
The Department of Health is committed to expanding public knowledge regarding Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and increasing coordination and integration within existing service delivery systems, thereby enhancing the infrastructure needed for persons with TBI and their Families.
To learn more about services available for individuals with brain injury and their families, please contact the toll free Brain Injury Help Line at 1-866-412-4755 and speak with a Brain Injury Specialist. Specialists are available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.
Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a "mild" brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.
Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully. But for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks or longer. In general, recovery may be slower among older adults, young children and teens. Those who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another one and may find that it takes longer to recover if they have another concussion.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- CDC Heads Up: To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, CDC developed the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents and athletes involved in youth sports. The Heads Up initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing and responding to a concussion.
- National Federation of State High School Associations: National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have teamed up to provide information and resources to help educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports.
- ConcussionWise Pennsylvania: ConcussionWise™ is part of a family of online concussion education courses designed to meet the needs of athletic trainers, physicians, coaches, parents, athletes and other health care providers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to find the answer to all your Act 101: the Safety in Youth Sports Act questions.
- Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania (BIAPA): BIAPA has developed a Model Policy and Guidance for Pennsylvania Schools for Sports-Related Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.
- Pa. Department of Education: In accordance with Act 101 of 2011, the Pa. Department of Education has posted concussion related materials to their website in an effort to inform and educate student athletes, parents and coaches about the nature and risk of concussion and traumatic brain injury.
- Pa. Senate Bill 200 Act 101: An Act establishing standards for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries to student athletes.
- School-Wide Concussion Management: Online trainings/videos on concussion recognition, including steps to take with concussions on the field and utilizing a concussion management team.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Clinical Report: Sport-related concussion in children and adolescents.
- Current Sports Medicine Reports: At-risk populations in sports-related concussion.
- Journal of Athletic Training: Supporting the student-athlete's return to the classroom after a sport-related concussion.
- The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, funded by a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, has developed the accompanying tools to educate and prepare domestic violence programs and advocates to enhance domestic violence advocacy services and skills in working with survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury as a result of domestic violence.
As a high school basketball player, Tracy sustained two concussions within a short period of time. Tracy tells her story and emphasizes that concussions are a serious injury. Check out a two-minute video on Tracy's story.
TBI Advisory Board
The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Board of the Pennsylvania Department of Health was established in August 2001 by the Secretary of Health as a requirement of the Health Resources and Services Administration Federal TBI Planning Grant and Federal Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C.A. 300d - 52 et seq.)
The board consists of 26 members. The members of the board include family members of TBI survivors; individuals living with a TBI; representatives from the departments of Aging, Human Services, Labor and Industry, Insurance, Health, Corrections and Education; representatives from the Disability Rights Pennsylvania, Rehabilitation and Communities Providers Association (RCPA), Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania (BIAPA) and community-based organizations in TBI service provision and advocacy.
Appointed members shall serve a four year term.
The board provides advice and expertise to the Pennsylvania Department of Health in the determination of service and support needs of individuals with TBI and the implementation of services to those individuals and their families. The board plays an integral role in making recommendations regarding future activities to be placed in the TBI State Action Plan thereby improving access to TBI services in Pennsylvania through information and education.
Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board Meeting Schedule
Meetings are scheduled quarterly (February, May, August and November) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and take place at the Giant Super Store, Second Floor – Community Center, Blue Mountain Room, 2300 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110. A meeting announcement is published prior to each meeting in the Pennsylvania Bulletin under the requirements outline in the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act (Open Meetings Law). Please note outside food and drinks are prohibited at the Giant Super Store.
Meeting minutes are available upon request by contacting the Division of Community Systems Development and Outreach at 717-772-2763.
Annual Reports prior to 2019 are available upon request by contacting the Division of Community Systems Development and Outreach at 717-772-2763.
Child and Adolescent Brain Injury School Re-entry Program
Under contract from the Department of Health and with partnership from the Department of Education, the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania developed a Child and Adolescent Brain Injury School Re-entry Program called BrainSTEPS (Strategies, Teaching Educators, Parent and Students). BrainSTEPS is working to make sure that those who provide educational support to children with brain injury have a good understanding of brain injury, the resulting challenges, and supports and interventions that will assist these students achieve educational success through graduation.
For further information regarding the School Re-Entry Program, please contact:
Bureau of Family Health
Division of Community Systems Development and Outreach
Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster St.
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Brenda Eagan-Johnson Ed.D., CBIS
Brain Injury Association of PA