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Brain Injury

What is a brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by an external force such as hitting your head during a fall or car crash, from a collision with an object or another person during activities such as participating in sports or when assaulted. Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury. An injury to the brain that are not caused by an external force are considered a non-traumatic brain injury. Non-traumatic brain injuries can result from an illness, lack of oxygen, or stroke.

Why screen for a brain injury

Brain injuries are often a multi-occurring condition with mental health, substance abuse, criminal or juvenile justice involvement, and homelessness. Screening for brain injury is a best practice when providing treatment or supports for individuals seen in health, community or corrections services. Learn more about the intersection of brain injury and multi-occurring conditions. 

Screening for brain injury is a way to identify whether an individual has experienced events that puts them at risk for challenges associated with brain injury. By screening and assessing for common symptoms associated with brain injury, professionals can then identify and implement the right accommodations and recommend certain services to better support that individual. 

  • If you are an individual who suspects you have had a brain injury, you may contact the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa for assistance at or call 855-444-6443 to be screened for a lifetime history of brain injury and receive services and support.
  • If you are a provider, you may obtain access to Iowa's evidence-based screening tools by emailing your name/agency to The screening tools are free and there are instructions on how to complete and score the screening tools.

What does it mean when an individual "screens positive"?

Screening "positive" means there has been an event or several events that could result in a brain injury. It is important to know that a positive screening does not provide a brain injury diagnosis. Instead, it is a way to assess risk for having challenges related to brain injury. 

Brain injury screening tools do NOT provide a diagnosis or indicate an absence of a brain injury. They are, however, valid for a brief assessment for a person's exposure to brain injury. 

What are the next steps after a positive screening?

  • Following a positive screening, we recommend completing symptom questionnaire to determine whether the individual is experiencing any challenges commonly associated with brain injury, such as difficulty with memory and organization.
  • To learn more about how brain injury may be impacting the individual, the Mayo Portland Adaptability Inventory 4 can be used to identify functional limitations they may be experiencing.
  • The individual may choose to see a medical professional to confirm a brain injury diagnosis. 

Individuals who need assistance with completing brain injury screening or assessments, or who have been identified as having a positive screening with symptoms, should be referred to the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa. They have a free service called Neuro-Resource Facilitation, which provides information and support. They can be contacted by calling 855-444-6443 or emailing 

Screening tools for providers

The Lifetime History of Brain Injury is now available in Spanish.  Click the button below and select the preferred language.

Access to these tools are password protected.  For access please email

Lifetime History of Brain Injury (for ages 13 and up)

Pediatric Lifetime History of Brain Injury (for ages 5-21)


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