TBI Recovery During COVID-19

Coping with a brain injury is never easy. The Covid-19 pandemic may exacerbate the cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms associated with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Being trapped at home can be frightening. For brain injury survivors, removed from day programs, club houses, and support groups amplifies their fear and isolation. Their symptoms may worse. People with a brain injury may not understand the scope of the pandemic and its unusual demands, such as the need to wear masks, heightened protocols for social distancing, and repeated handwashing.(

In addition to the hallmark symptoms of Covid infection, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, 25% of people experience symptoms related to their brain and nervous system, including dizziness, headache, debilitating fatigue and “brain fog” or cognitive impairment, which is trouble remembering, learning and concentrating. While symptoms tend to go away once someone recovers, some Covid survivors experience lasting long-term effects. “Covid-19′s many neurological symptoms are likely explained by the body’s widespread inflammatory response to infection and associated blood vessel injury — not by infection of the brain tissue itself,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, wrote in a blog post on Jan. 14. Covid also seems to have a stronger effect on people’s neurological and mental health than other respiratory conditions: In the new study, there was overall a 44% greater risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses after Covid-19 than after flu, and a 16% greater risk after COVID-19 than with respiratory tract infections.(