Collection Development | Traumatic Brain Injury: WITH HEALING IN MIND

Though often referred to as “invisible wounds” and nearly impossible to detect from appearance, brain injuries have a very significant impact. More than 1.7 million people annually in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and 795,000 people suffer from strokes. TBI often goes unnoticed in the wake of an accident, particularly if there are no outward signs of head trauma, so sufferers can spend years undiagnosed and untreated. Identifying and treating TBI remain challenging even when the injury is clearly identifiable. No two brains are folded quite the same way, and no two traumas impact the brain in quite the same way. Researchers are actively looking for better ways to identify and understand the ramifications of such events. Most current tools are ill equipped truly to identify brain injuries, even those as commonplace as concussion.

Often the presentation and impact of stroke in a patient can be remarkably similar to TBI. The third leading cause of death in the United States, stroke has risk factors that are similar to those for heart attacks: high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking. Signs of stroke are not as well known as those of heart attack, meaning many sufferers do not get the critical care needed within the first three hours of onset. This can lead to significant complications in the recovery process.

The U.S. Department of Defense estimates the number of service members suffering from TBI—the “signature wound” of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan—to be 273,859 (from 2000 to the first quarter of 2013). A number of resources specifically address TBI in service members and its tremendous impact on their families and support networks. Knowing where to turn for treatment; health insurance, social security, and disability assistance; therapy and rehabilitation options; and cognitive and psychological rehabilitation is challenging for both veterans and civilians.

Resources to contemplate

While resources about brain injury remain somewhat scarce in bookstores and libraries, more and more is being published to address specific needs of patients, families, and caregivers. Reading abilities of patients may dramatically differ depending on their injury. Materials from publishers such as Lash & ­Associates, Da Capo, and Demos Medical Publishing cater to a range of needs and abilities in a variety of formats and at differing reading levels. Another consideration in building a collection is material for children and young adults, who may have a parent or sibling suffering from TBI, particularly as a result of military service. Middle-grade and young adult materials are often also appropriate for adults.

Videos may fit the needs of busy caregivers, but basic film resources about brain injury remain hard to find. Portions of popular shows such as NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Frontline, and 60 Minutes are devoted to the topic, but not many documentaries are available. However, there are a handful of films about TBI survivors and more are being made.

Weeding collections for outdated material is essential, since new research continually occurs. Information offered by guidebooks for families and survivors is less quick to show its age; however, close care should be paid to content that discusses health-care laws, social security and disability information, or legislation related to youth sports. The Brain Initiative research project to “map” the brain has begun, and studies are under way at Boston University and military medical centers to identify new diagnostic tools and better scanning technologies. Keeping library collections up-to-date in this important area will help improve the lives of many in our communities.

Starred titles (redstar) are essential for most collections.

For additional resources, including state guide, see the online version of this article at


Carroll, Linda & David Rosner. The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic. S. & S. 2011. 336p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451627220. $26.

An interesting historical look at our developing understanding of the damage resulting from concussion. (LJ 9/1/11)

redstar Moser, Rosemarie Scolaro. Ahead of the Game: The Parents’ Guide to Youth Sports Concussion.
Dartmouth Coll. 2012. 210p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781611682243. $19.95.

Discusses how to identify a concussion, baseline tests and their limitations, treatment, and the impact of multiple concussions. (LJ Xpress Reviews, 1/25/13)

Solomon, Gary S. & others. The Heads-Up on Sport Concussion. Human Kinetics. 2006. 138p. bibliog. ISBN 9780736060080. $46.

A solid overview of concussion in sports, from team pastimes to cycling.

redstar Stoler, Diane Roberts. Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide to Living with the Challenges Associated with Post Concussion Syndrome and Brain Trauma. Penguin Pr. Nov. 2013. 400p. illus. index. ISBN 9781583334768. pap. $18.

Stoler covers current medical knowledge, alternative therapies and treatments, and diagnostic and therapeutic innovations, clearly presenting physiological, emotional, and cognitive challenges. Essential.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

redstar Denton, Gail L. Brainlash: Maximize Your Recovery from Mild Brain Injury. 3d ed. Demos Medical. 2008. 341p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781932603408. $24.95.

Leads survivors through the sometimes overwhelming aspects of rebuilding their life following a brain injury. Indispensable.

PTSD and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Guilford. 2012. 308p. ed. by Jennifer J. Vasterling & others. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781462503384. $62.

For larger collections, this title contains useful information about connections between PTSD and mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), assessment, and treatment. (LJ 3/1/98)

Roberts, Richard J. & Mary Ann Roberts. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Episodic Symptoms and Treatment. Plural. 2011. 318p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781597564236. $55.

For survivors of blunt and blast traumas and other sufferers of MTBI, this work offers hopeful new approaches to identifying these injuries and potentially more effective ­treatments.

redstar Understanding Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Brain Injury Hope Fdn. 2010. 175p. ed. by Mary Ann Keatley & Laura L. Whittemore. bibliog. ISBN 9780982409411. pap. $16.95.

An essential guide to common symptoms, pain, hearing and vision problems, and hypersensitivity. This title also offers nutritional tips and recovery exercises.

Traumatic Brain Injury

redstar Cassidy, John W. Mindstorms: The Complete Guide for Families Living with Traumatic Brain Injury. Da Capo: Perseus. 2009. 235p. illus. index. ISBN 9780738212470. pap. $18.95.

Describes various types of TBIs; their effects on body, mind, social interaction, and personality; and treatments, rehabilitation, and therapy.

Gillard, Arthur Lash. Traumatic Brain Injury. Gale: Greenhaven. (Perspectives on Diseases & Disorders). 2013. 168p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780737763492. $38.95.

Examines the broad spectrum of TBI and its aftermath, as well as related research, recovery, and controversy.

redstar Health and Healing After Traumatic Brain Injury: Understanding the Power of Family, Friends, Community, and Other Support Systems. Greenwood. (Disability Insights & Issues). 2013. 260p. ed. by Heidi Muenchberger & others. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440828867. $48.

A holistic, positive, proactive approach filled with vital information, including a section about mental health and mental illness, often overlooked in TBI recovery information.

redstar Lawhorne-Scott, Cheryl & Don Philpott. Combat-Related Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD: A Resource and Recovery Guide. Government Insts: Scarecrow. 2010. 290p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781605907239. $34.95; pap. ISBN 9781605907666. $19.95.

Lawhorne-Scott and Philpott explain the variety of TBIs that can occur in war zones and the military, the relationship TBIs can have with PTSD, and the challenges of identifying TBIs that are not severe. ­Essential.

Ponsford, Jennie & others. Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation for Everyday Adaptive Living. 2d ed. Psychology. 2013. 414p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781848720275. $65.

This title provides an in-depth exploration of how to assess and manage cognitive, communication, and behavior problems; the impact of TBI on relationships and families; and TBI in children.

redstar Prowe, Garry. Successfully Surviving a Brain Injury: A Family Guidebook; From the Emergency Room to Selecting a Rehabilitation Facility. Brain Injury Success. 2010. 246p. index. ISBN 9780984197439. pap. $17.95.

Written by a husband whose wife suffered a severe TBI, along with a panel of 150 survivors, 110 caregivers, and 40 medical professionals, this essential guide helps with every stage of the survival process.

Senelick, Richard C. & Karla Dougherty. Living with Brain Injury: A Guide for Families. 2d ed. HealthSouth. 2010. 229p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781891525094. pap. $19.95.

Explains the inherent challenges and provides real-life examples of both easily diagnosed and long-undiagnosed brain injuries.

Sullivan, Cheryle. Brain Injury Survival Kit: 365 Tips, Tools, & Tricks To Deal with Cognitive Function Loss. Demos Medical. 2008. 169p. ISBN 9781932603736. pap. $16.95.

Practical tips about how to manage daily life, recovery, work, finances, and medical care by a physician who struggled with her mother’s TBI and her own.

Trudeau, G.B. (text & illus.). Signature Wound: Rocking TBI. Andrews McMeel. (Doonesbury). 2010. 120p. ISBN 9780740791963. pap. $9.99.

Trudeau’s humorous work explores aphasia, TBI’s aftereffects, and the struggles faced by returning veterans. The last title in a trilogy about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Burkman, Kip. The Stroke Recovery Book: A Guide for Patients and Families. 2d ed. Addicus. 2011. 152p. illus. index. ISBN 9781886039988. $19.95.

Burkman covers the types of strokes and how they occur; aftereffects, medical complications, and impairments; rehabilitation and aftercare; and the needs of caregivers. (LJ 11/1/98)

redstar Gillard, Arthur Lash.
Stroke. Gale: Greenhaven. (Perspectives on Diseases & Disorders). 2013. 144p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780737763591. $38.95.

This title explains stroke, its aftermath, and differences in recovery. It includes information about controversies, particularly stem cell treatments, and the rise of strokes in young people.

Hreib, Kinan K. 100 Questions and Answers About Stroke: A Lahey Clinic Guide. Jones & Bartlett. 2008. 185p. index. ISBN 9780763750701. $19.95.

These questions and answers cover symptoms, types, causes, complications, and recovery and rehabilitation with information about confusing terminology and causes.

Lindley, Richard Iain. Stroke. Oxford Univ. (Facts). 2008. 120p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199212729. $19.95.

An accessible description of the types of strokes, risk factors for and causes of strokes, treatments, and ­rehabilitation.

Spence, J. David. How To Prevent Your Stroke. Vanderbilt Univ. 2006. 218p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780826515360. $39.95; pap. ISBN 9780826515377. $19.95.

Spence has created an eminently practical discussion of what a stroke is, how doctors can respond, and how to prevent future strokes, including specifics about reducing cholesterol and other preventative dietary measures. (LJ 9/15/06)

redstar Stein, Joel & others. Life After Stroke: The Guide to Recovering Your Health and Preventing Another Stroke. Johns Hopkins. (Health Book). 2006. 337p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780801883637. $48; pap. ISBN 9780801883644. $20.95.

Primarily a guide to stroke recovery and to medical and lifestyle preventions, this reference also offers an introduction to strokes, their impact on the brain, and related medical tests.


Alternate Therapies in the Treatment of Brain Injury and Neurobehavioral Disorders: A Practical Guide. Haworth. 2006. 191p. ed. by Gregory J. Murrey. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780789021342. $190.

Information about supplemental and non­traditional treatment possibilities and why they might be effective.

Daisley, Audrey. Head Injury. Oxford Univ. (Facts). 2009. 160p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199218226. $24.95.

Daisley offers an easy-to-read treatise on the changes head injury brings to the patient, impacts on sexuality, and how to help children cope with a brain-injured family member.

redstar Dolen, Carolyn E. Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors. Idyll Arbor. (Personal Health). 2009. 322p. ISBN 9781882883592. pap. $19.

Hopeful and empowering, this title is clear and well organized—and essential.

Jandial, Rahul & others. 100 Questions & Answers About Head and Brain Injuries. Jones & Bartlett. (100 Questions & Answers). 2009. 118p. index. ISBN 9780763755720. $19.95.

Examines healthy brains and skulls, types and variations of head trauma from post-concussive syndrome to coma, anatomical differences between children and adults, long-term impact, and rehabilitation.

Stimola, Aubrey. Brain Injuries. Rosen. (Understanding Brain Diseases & Disorders). 2012. 64p. illus. index. ISBN 9781448855438. $31.95.

This clearly written and well-illustrated guide provides a scientific, neurologically focused exploration of brain injuries with a few examples of well-known cases.

Memoir & Personal Narrative

redstar Mason, Michael Paul. Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath. Farrar. 2008. 310p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374134525. $25.

A brain injury caseworker, Mason has written a collection that features tremendous variety and is extremely engaging, emotionally and neurologically.

Osborn, Claudia L. Over My Head: A Doctor’s Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out. 2d ed. Andrews McMeel. 2000. 239p. bibliog. ISBN 9780740705984. pap. $16.95.

A riveting personal account of TBI, from a physician whose brain injury went un­diagnosed, provides an intimate look at brain injury and recovery.

Pray, Lawrence M. with David Gumm. Thresholds: Connecting Body and Soul After Brain Injury. Ruder Finn. 2012. 303p. illus. ISBN 9781932646559. $24.95.

Teacher, writer, pastor, and artist, Pray worked with neuropsychologist Gumm to recover from two strokes. This touching exploration of the impact and aftermath of stroke incorporates mind and spirit in its approach to healing.

Woodruff, Lee & Bob Woodruff. In an Instant: A Family’s Journey of Love and Healing. Random. 2007. 304p. ISBN 9781400066674. $25.95.

This memoir in two voices is a vibrant and heartfelt sharing of the Woodruffs’ experiences after Bob was severely injured in Iraq. (LJ 10/15/07)


redstar Brain Injury Dialogues. color. 52 min. Brain Injury Dialogues, 2008. DVD $19.95.

Rick Franklin, who suffered a brain injury, and Lyell Davies explore living with such a “hidden disability.”

Coma. color. 102 min. Moxie Firecracker with HBO, dist. by Warner Bros., 866-373-4389; DVD $9.99.

An illuminating look at four coma patients and the challenges they face.

Head Games. color. 96 min. Head Games the Film LLC, 630-501-0287; 2012. DVD $13.99; Blu-ray $18.99.

This video Follows Chris Nowinski’s path from Harvard football through world wrestling and on to becoming a sports-related brain injury researcher and advocate.

Indelible Mark. color. 25 min. New Day Films, 888-367-9154; DVD $99.

A haunting personal look at TBI and its lifelong aftereffects.

Marwencol. color. 84 min. Cinema Guild, 2010. DVD $29.95; Blu-ray $34.95.

Unable to afford rehabilitative care, a man who suffers a severe TBI in an assault develops his own therapeutic and rehabilitative art project. (LJ 8/11; Best Video of 2011, LJ 1/12)

Where Soldiers Come From. color. 91 min. New Day Films, 888-367-9154; DVD $75.

Exceptional documentary about the impact that blast injuries, TBI, and PTSD have on a community.


Current information and gateways into local resources and treatment options.

Brain Injury Association of America

Includes links to state Brain Injury Associations.

The Brain Trauma Foundation Preventing, Treating, and Living with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI);

Basics and more for survivors, family and friends, and professionals, including free online courses for health-care providers.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Traumatic Brain Injury

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center


National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke



To submit titles (new and/or backlist), contact Henrietta Thornton-Verma four to six months before issue dates listed above (email:

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