Back to Top Skip to main content

How to develop a new relationship path after a TBI

A pair of hands clasped together Air Force Capt. Spencer Crandall and his wife Kristen hold each other’s hands during a marriage retreat in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012. (Photo by Human Performance Resources by CHAMP at USU.)

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

When you or your partner suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), changes to your relationship are likely. Both of you might experience a range of emotions as you adapt to new expectations in your relationship, but you can weather the changes. TBIs can occur without warning, and the path to recovery isn’t always clear, which can add strain to your romantic relationship.

Shifting roles and changing emotions

The uninjured partner is likely to shift into a caregiving role after a TBI. This can be fulfilling and frustrating for both of you. It’s likely neither of you expected one would have to intensely depend on the other as sometimes happens after a TBI. However, it’s also an opportunity to show commitment and gratitude toward each other on a regular basis.

Still, these new roles can leave you both feeling isolated at times. That’s why it’s important to garner external support. Caregivers need a break to take care of themselves every so often. Encouragement from other family members and friends can help as you or your loved one recover from a TBI together. You both can’t make it through this process alone, or by only depending on each other. Reap the benefits of getting comfortable asking others for help because it could provide some well-needed relief.

You might feel a sense of loss or grief about your relationship as a couple, which can be similar to the grief felt after the death of a loved one. You also might grieve future plans that now have to be canceled or adjusted. And you might mourn for the couple you once were.

Your view of future goals and dreams probably needs to be modified or abandoned, and that’s hard. These feelings are normal, and talking about them with your partner, other trusted confidants, or a professional therapist can help.

The “new” us

After a TBI, work toward establishing a new understanding of what it means to be a couple in your current circumstances. Strive to answer, “Who are we now?” together. Build new rituals as a team, find novel ways to manage frustrations, and redistribute responsibilities at home.

A TBI survivor might not be able to handle detailed, more tedious jobs such as paying bills or balancing your family budget. Get creative about how you can reassign roles, so you’re both still involved and feel engaged in your partnership.

Learn more

Lastly, educate yourselves about what recovery after a TBI looks like. Understanding the typical changes in behavior, mood, and personality of someone who has experienced a TBI can help. Reach out to the Defense Centers of Excellence Outreach Center with your TBI questions. It’s still possible to build strong family and relationship ties after a TBI—it just might look different than you initially planned.

You also may be interested in...

Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild TBI

Publication
2/23/2021

The 2021 Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) Following Acute Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Recommendation is an evidence-based return to activity protocol for primary care managers and concussion/traumatic brain injury (TBI) clinic providers. The PRA is a six-step approach that begins after the provider performs the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2 (MACE 2) and diagnoses the patient with a concussion/TBI. The PRA stages start with relative rest and allow service members to gradually increase activities until they receive clearance for return to full duty or activity. In each stage, it offers general and military specific activities and options to help providers manage their patients’ primary symptom clusters. The PRA also offers recommendations on specialty referrals and handouts are available for providers to give patients and leadership.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild TBI Provider Training

Publication
2/23/2021

The TBICoE revised the Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Recommendation (PRA) and this updated provider training slide deck. The trainings objectives will help providers to identify the key changes to the updated 2021 PRA; explain the rationale for using a PRA protocol for service members post-concussion; understand the criteria for progression following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury; identify appropriate activities at each stage of progression; understand how to apply primary care management strategies and specialty referral considerations to treat concussed service members who are not progressing as expected; utilize the Tri-Service Workflow mild TBI Alternate Input Method Form to document the PRA in the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Application.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Education | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Education and Training Events

March 2021 Toolkit

Publication
2/22/2021

March is nationally recognized as Brain Injury Awareness Month, with the goal of increasing traumatic brain injury (TBI) awareness and improve health care providers’ ability to identify, care for, and treat all those who are affected by TBI. A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. According to the Defense Health Agency Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, 430,720 service members have been diagnosed with a first-time TBI since 2000. The toolkit also contains information on patient Safety Awareness Week, National Nutrition Month and many other graphics and messages you can use for holidays and observances during March.

Recommended Content:

March Toolkit | Total Force Fitness | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Month

Progressive Return to Activity Clinical Support Tool Rehabilitation Providers

Publication
11/12/2020

This clinical support tool for rehabilitation providers details the algorithmic approach for enabling service members to return to pre-injury activity after sustaining a concussion/mild TBI. The tool is designed as a pocket-sized reference card, and supports the Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild TBI Clinical Recommendation for Rehabilitation Providers

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Progressive Return to Activity Following Concussion/Mild TBI: Rehabilitation Provider

Publication
11/12/2020

This clinical recommendation for rehabilitation providers details the importance of aiding service members to progressively return to pre-injury activity and promotes the standardization of care following a concussion/mild TBI.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Progressive Return to Activity: Clinical Support Tool for Primary Care Managers

Publication
11/12/2020

This clinical support tool for primary care providers details the algorithmic approach for enabling service members to return to pre-injury activity after sustaining a concussion/mTBI. The tool is designed as a pocket-sized reference card, and supports the Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild TBI Clinical Recommendation for Primary Care Managers.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

2000-2019 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
9/30/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis from 2000-2019.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | Worldwide TBI Numbers | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Provider Resources

2019 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
9/30/2020

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Traumatic Brain Injury | Worldwide TBI Numbers

2007 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

2012 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

2008 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

2013 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

2014 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

2015 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

2016 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DoD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.