Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Brain Injuries -- rehabilitation


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is any combination of focal and/or diffuse central nervous system dysfunction, both immediate and delayed, at the brainstem level and above. The dysfunctions, which, are not developmental or degenerative, are due to the interaction of any external forces and the body, violent movements of the body, infection, toxicity, surgery, and non-age related vascular disorders. In the United States, TBI has reached epidemic proportions and is the leading killer and cause of disability in children and young adults.

The TBI survival rate is increasing due to life-saving technology. Survivors will face extensive rehabilitation services, which have been proven more beneficial if begun in the trauma center or Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Physical therapists in newly accredited level I or II trauma centers may be unfamiliar with trauma rehabilitation management of the TBI survivor.

The purpose of this study is to review the literature regarding the incorporation of physical therapy into the trauma rehabilitation of patients with TBI to affect the specific secondary complications following injury including: neurologically imposed muscular changes, heterotopic ossification, and skin breakdown. Trauma rehabilitation will be discussed and examples of techniques will be explored. Injury severity and outcome measures will also be briefly discussed.

The information resulting from this study will aid physical therapists in the competent, efficient, and effective trauma rehabilitation of patients with TBI.