Current perceptions of rehabilitation professionals towards mild traumatic brain injury

Douglas E. Harrington, James Malec, Keith Cicerone, Howard T. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


There has been long-standing controversy in the medical literature and increasing interest within the rehabilitation field in mild traumatic brain injury and postconcussion syndrome. The Head Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine conducted an opinion survey to analyze the perceptions of rehabilitation professionals towards patient's with these problems. The survey initally compared response patterns of rehabilitation personnel to two earlier identical surveys made with a group of neurosurgeons and a group of neuropsychologists. A a group, rehabilitation professionals tend to have perceptions of mild traumatic brain injury that are similar to those of neuropsychologists. The survey also included a group of questions developed to analyze specific issues among rehabilitation professionals related to symptomatology, persistence, and treatment. The most salient findings concluded that rehabilitation providers (1) want a grading system associated with the term to designate injury severity, symptom severity, and level of functional impairment; (2) most frequently use neuropsychologists in assessment and treatment of these patients; (3) report cognitive deficits as the most common symptom, followed by irritability and somatic complaints; (4) when medications are used, most frequently use antidepressants; (5) typically follow these patients anywhere from six to 18 months postinjury; and (6) report that most patients make a complete functional recovery, though there is a substantial proportion (about 25%) who do not. Implications drawn from the survey include that there is a need to better define the term and its associated features and that there is a substantial group of patients who remain at least partially functionally disabled and present a major challenge to the rehabilitation community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-586
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993


  • Minor head injury
  • Postconcussion syndrome
  • Posttraumatic head syndrone
  • Traumatic head injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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