Traumatic Brain Injury

HIPRC is committed to uncovering the complex layers of brain injury prevention and treatment that have long stymied the global medical community.

Our work studying the relationship between TBI treatment guidelines and outcomes for children transforms the way clinicians treat pediatric TBI around the world. HIPRC is leading a state-wide coalition to ensure that children “Return-to-Learn” after experiencing brain injury. No two brain injuries are alike, and we are ensuring every child in Washington with TBI receives unique treatment and rehabilitation.

General Information:

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 or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Children and teens who show or report one or more of the signs and symptoms listed below, or simply say they just “don’t feel right” after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body, may have a concussion or more serious brain injury.

Concussion Signs Observed

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.

Concussion Symptoms Reported

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Featured Programs


The HIPRC team is proud to conduct a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded study testing a flexible, accessible, and comprehensive Return-to-Learn (RTL) after concussion-based protocol on best practice designed for academic accommodations to get high school students back in the classroom. For every student diagnosed with a concussion, every school needs a plan.

Visit Return-to-Learn for more information.

TBI Argentina

A global partnership led by Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center is aiming to improve outcomes after severe pediatric traumatic brain injury with support from a grant by the National Institutes of Health.

The partnership with Centro de Informática e Investigación Clínica in Rosario, Argentina, Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C., and HIPRC in Seattle is studying best practice guideline adherence and outcomes in severe pediatric TBI treatment in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay.

Pediatric traumatic brain injury is the leading killer of children worldwide, and learning how to provide the best care possible in a variety of settings is critical to reducing the harms from these injuries.

Visit TBI Argentina for more information.


  • Webinar: Adult TBI– Special considerations for the elderly, the relationship between TBI and domestic abuse, prehospital care, rehabilitation, and more. 
  • Webinar: Pediatric TBI– Coaches Survey of VICIS Zero1 Helmet Use in High School Football.

TBI News

The effect of RISE Bundle on Return-to-Learn (RTL) implementation in WA schools

Return-to-Learn (RTL) is a fast, comprehensive assessment program for any high school student with a concussion. Establishing a student-centered RTL program may help reduce disparities in RTL care. A new study out of the University…

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Return-to-Learn (RTL) in WA public high schools during COVID-19

Concussions can negatively impact academic performance in schools. The need for Return-to-Learn (RTL) programs in schools, including tailored accommodations, for students with concussion is important to promote safe and timely recovery for successful return to…

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NEW 2023 WA State Injury & Violence Prevention Laws

As the 2023-2024 WA State legislative session comes to an end, here are some of the Injury and Violence-related bills signed into law by WA Governor Jay Inslee. These laws will go into effect 90…

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UW Med reports a lack of Proper Concussion Care

Originally posted to UW’s The Daily Concussions, once considered limited to high-contact sports like rugby and football, have now been shown to affect individuals of all ages and walks of life. Older adults, young children,…

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After a concussion, kids’ brains need a break: from sports, bright lights, and too much homework

Washington State is the first state to adopt a law regulating when and how students can return to sports after having a concussion. Seattle’s KUOW interviewed Dr. Monica Vavilala on the push for lawmakers to…

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Many Students Not Getting Recommended Concussion Care

Originally posted to UW Medicine Newsroom.  Although public awareness of concussion dangers has improved over the years, many young people with the injury are not being diagnosed and receiving the care they need, says Dr….

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