Get the facts about concussion & other brain injuries


Any brain injury can have lifelong consequences

Dr. Elizabeth Sandel provides accurate, up-to-date, evidence-based information about the science, care, and treatment of concussion and other brain injuries to medical or care professionals, or anyone who wants to get educated on this topic.

Dr Elizabeth Sandel

© Photo: Susan Freundlich


Patients &

The Traumatic Brain Injury Epidemic

Did you know? Female athletes sustain concussions at higher rates than male athletes.



in the US each year produced by sports and recreational injuries, according to the CDC.



somewhere in the world will experience a TBI each year. Most of these are concussions or mild brain injuries.



in concussion diagnoses in US emergency rooms from 2007 to 2011. One third were sports related.

person with headache by window, shielding eyes

Misconceptions About Concussion Care

The first sign is loss of consciousness

You do not have to lose consciousness or hit your head to have a concussion. Any hit to your body that is strong enough to cause your head to forcefully jerk backwards, forwards, or to the side, puts you at risk for damage to the brain.

It's fine to wait a few weeks

before seeing a doctor. If a concussion is suspected, it's important to get medical evaluation within two days (or immediately if symptoms are severe) so a plan of care can be initiated. Up to 50% of people still have concussion symptoms such as headaches after 3 months, so follow-up is necessary, too.

Rest is the only treatment

for concussion symptoms. In the first few days after a concussion, you may need to restrict activities, but then a gradual resumption of activities and an exercise program will speed recovery

women playing soccer
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bicyclist on street

One evening, when Seth was biking home, a collision threw him off his bike and into the windshield of an oncoming car. Fortunately, he was wearing a helmet. But the windshield shattered, and blood gushed from his eyebrow. He wanted to continue on his way, but bystanders suggested otherwise.

An ambulance took him to a familiar place, the very medical center where he was in his second year of medical school. They scanned him for injuries, stitched up his face and shoulder, and sent him home.

The next day, he felt worse. For weeks and months, he had headaches, dizziness, episodes of blurry vision, sensitivity to light and sounds, and other difficulties.

construction worker up high

Dr. Elizabeth Sandel

Dr. Elizabeth Sandel has worked with brain injury patients for over 30 years, as well as taken part in many studies to advance the treatment of concussion. Having worked so closely with this condition, she is considered an expert in the field and seeks to spread accurate and up-to-date information on the subject.


Award of Excellence
Pennsylvania Head Injury Association

Profession of Medicine Award
The Permanente Medical Group

Krusen Lifetime Achievement Award
America Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Elizabeth showing brain parts

© Photo: Susan Freundlich

Reviews of Shaken Brain

A fascinating page turner. Propelled by Dr. Sandel’s exceptional storytelling and clinical expertise, Shaken Brain sheds light on the myths and misunderstandings surrounding concussions, and their consequential impact on so many lives.

caring iconMarilyn Spivack, cofounder and past President, Brain Injury Association of America

Book Cover: The Shaken Brain

“A thoroughly engaging and enlightening account, this book explores the often perplexing issues and controversies surrounding post-concussion symptoms. A vital read.”

caring iconMel Glenn, MD, Chief, Brain Injury Division, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

“A valuable resource for patients who have experienced concussion and their families, as well as for the physicians, therapists, and scientists who have made it their life’s work to help them.”

caring iconJohn Leddy, Professor, Medical Director, Concussion Management Clinic, SUNY Buffalo

Latest Insights

Dr. Sandel maintains an active network with other leading brain injury experts. In this blog, she shares ground-breaking insights and fresh perspectives to help you navigate this complex condition.

Coma and Other Disorders of Consciousness

What happens to the brain after a severe brain injury that renders a person unconscious or “comatose”? Learn the meaning of other terms that describe patients who have disorders of consciousness: the minimally conscious state, cognitive-motor dissociation, covert consciousness, and unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (vegetative state). Researchers are studying advanced technologies evaluating patients with disorders of consciousness, and there are new U.S. and European guidelines that are helping to standardize care and advance the field of brain injury.


Falls and Brain Injury in Older Adults

Traumatic brain injuries are very common in older adults who fall. They can result in hospitalization, death, or disability especially in this age group and those on certain medications. In this post, an elderly woman has a delayed hematoma from an injury that could have been deadly. Her story is also told in Dr. Sandel’s book, Shaken Brain. Falls can be prevented and Dr. Sandel shares important information about risk factors and tips for prevention.


Repetitive Brain Trauma and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

There’s a link between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and repetitive brain injuries that occur in boxing and American football. This is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that can lead to severely-disabling neurologic and psychiatric disorders. Learn about the science, diagnostic criteria for traumatic encephalopathy syndrome (TES), and possible treatment approaches.


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