ACRM Brain Injury Definition: The Definition of Mild Brain Injury


ACRM Brain Injury Definition

The ACRM brain injury definition (American Congress of Rehabilitation) was a break through in 1993 when it was authored, as it was one of the first peer reviewed definitions of MTBI that did not require a finding of loss of consciousness for the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury.  Rather it laid out four alternative acute events for such ARMC brain injury definition: LOC, change in mental state, amnesia, or focal neurological deficits. The most significant of those four is amnesia, but it is also the element that gets inadequate inquiry post accident.

For the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicines (ACRM) definition of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury click here.  J Head Trauma Rehabil 1993:8(3):86-87

The ACRM Brain Injury Definition reads;

A patient with mild traumatic brain injury is a person who has had a
traumatically induced physiological disruption of brain function, as
manifested by at least one of the following:
1. any period of loss of consciousness;
2. any loss of memory for events immediately before or after the
3. any alteration in mental state at the time of the accident (eg, feeling
dazed, disoriented, or confused); and

4. focal neurological deficitsthat may or may not be transient; but where the severity of the injury does not exceed the following:

  • loss of conscientiousness for approximately  thirty minutes or less;
  •  after 30 minutes an initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 13-15;
  • post traumatic amnesia not greater than 24 hours


Also significant about the ACRM brain injury definition is the guidance that comes from the comments, especially the focus on the missed diagnosis in presence of other serious injuries and the acknowledgment that many deficits do not become apparent until the traumatic brain injury  survivor has attempted to return to work.

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