When it comes to traumatic brain injury, the public can’t have too much information.

Traumatic brain injuries affect millions of Americans each year and each TBI experience is unique. Be sure to know the signs and symptoms of TBI as well as how to prevent TBI in oneself and loved ones.

TBI is caused by an external force, such as blows to the head, gunshot wounds, or having the head shaken violently.

Concussion, also called mild TBI, is the most common type of brain injury and can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because a person may or may not become unconscious and the damage may or may not show up on a diagnostic imaging test, such as a CAT scan.

A contusion, or a bruise on the brain, can result from a direct blow to the head and can also cause TBI.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of traumatic brain injury is falls.

Because the brain is soft and jello-like in consistency and “floats” in cerebral-spinal fluid in the skull, when the head is struck or shaken violently, it can cause brain injury.

To help prevent TBI in children, always use age and size-appropriate car seats, and make sure they are properly installed.

Also, make sure children always wear the right helmet for activities such as riding a bicycle or playing sports and make sure it fits right.

Wearing a helmet is a must to help lower the risk of serious brain injury and skull fracture. While helmets promote safety, know that there’s no such thing as a “concussion-proof” helmet.

For toddlers, make sure to have gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs to prevent them from falling down.

Parents who take children to the playground should ensure that there is soft material under the play equipment, like mulch or sand rather than grass or dirt.

TRICARE offers TBI treatment through a robust rehabilitation benefit that includes occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and behavioral health services when ordered by a physician as part of a comprehensive individual rehabilitation treatment plan.

Though TRICARE does not cover Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy as a stand-alone therapy, many physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists use CRT techniques in their covered therapies and treatments for TBI. For more information, visit the Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy page on the TRICARE website.

For specific coverage details, contact the regional contractor.