The Top 10 Traumatic Brain Injury Books to Read

Article by Moody Neuro

Books can be an invaluable resource for traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors, their loved ones, and their caregivers who want to learn more about this condition. There are many traumatic brain injury books that are helpful for anyone who wants to learn more about TBI. 

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of top traumatic injury books that provide a wealth of information and inspiration. It includes books that describe TBI from the survivor’s perspective, evidence-based guides on treatment and care, as well as stories of hope and resilience from loved ones and caregivers of TBI survivors.


Traumatic Brain Injury Books That Describe the Experiences of Survivors

1. Over My Head: A Doctor’s Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out by Claudia L. Osborn

At 33 years old, Claudia Osborn was highly successful in her field. She had a rewarding career as a physician and clinical professor of medicine. She was also the director of residency training at two Detroit hospitals and taught medicine at Michigan State University. 

But everything changed on a July evening in 1988. Dr. Osborn was out on a bicycle ride without a helmet when a car crashed into her. The accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and irreversible brain damage. 

In this memoir, Dr. Osborn talks about the events surrounding the accident that changed her life. She recounts how the effects of her TBI affected not just her career as a physician and professor but also her ability to perform even the simplest tasks, like getting dressed. 

However, this book is primarily a story of hope and perseverance. Dr. Osborn tells of the steps she and her caregivers took to reclaim her life, recover her identity, and rebuild her life as well as her career.

This inspiring yet realistic read is a must for TBI survivors looking to come to terms with their condition and needing inspiration to take the necessary steps toward recovery. Caregivers and loved ones of TBI survivors will also find this book helpful and eye-opening, as it provides in-depth information on the challenges of the rehabilitation process. 


2. Concussion by Jeane Marie Laskas 

Laskas chronicles the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after performing an autopsy on Mike Webster, a former football center for the NFL, and eight other players.

Before his death, Webster’s mental health had severely deteriorated, and he was exhibiting symptoms of psychosis and dementia despite being only 50 years old. Dr. Omalu’s findings, which he thought would help the NFL improve football and enhance the lives of its players, ended up being ignored and denied by the organization. 

Dr. Omalu’s true story is gripping, and Laskas makes it even more thrilling and unforgettable. This book is very well-researched and serves as a warning for parents and loved ones of athletes. 


3. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries: 101 Stories of Hope, Healing, and Hard Work by Amy Newmark and Carolyn Roy-Bornstein 

This collection of personal stories is one of the top traumatic brain injury books recommended by support groups. Intended for reading by TBI survivors as well as the people who care for and about them, this book is an excellent source of inspiration and motivation. 

Each story delves into a different aspect of living with a TBI diagnosis. There are chapters on rebuilding life, giving and accepting help, coping strategies, and coming to terms with the new normal. 


Traumatic Brain Injury Books That Describe the Experiences of Caregivers and Loved Ones 

4. Honey, I Smell Flowers by Ruth Ann Bartels 

This captivating story is an inspiring account of a mother’s love and support for her adult child, who is dealing with a TBI from a car accident. It is an in-depth look into her own experiences as a caregiver who had to raise her child twice, as well as her daughter’s challenges and triumphs while navigating the road to recovery after a life-altering event. 

Apart from being a true-to-life story of a TBI patient and her mother, “Honey I Smell Flowers” is a helpful primer and guide for TBI survivors, their loved ones, and their caregivers. It contains insights and guidance that were not available to the author when she was writing the book and which readers will find valuable.  


5. No Stone Unturned: A Father’s Memoir of His Son’s Encounter with Traumatic Brain Injury by Joel M. Goldstein

This book tells the story of Bart Goldstein, who, at 16, suffered a TBI in a car accident. The author, Bart’s father, is candid about the struggles they’ve gone through as a family trying to support their loved one as well as the difficulties and frustrations experienced by their son. 

The book blends facts about neuroscience with stories about Bart’s journey to recovery, an ongoing process that involves conventional medicine and emerging treatments. Those who seek to understand the challenges a family faces in the wake of a loved one’s TBI diagnosis will find this book an eye-opening read. 


6. Brain Injury Rewiring for Loved Ones: A Lifeline to New Connections by Carolyn E. Dolen 

This book is a companion to Brain Injury Rewiring for Survivors. It is both a factual guidebook for caregivers and loved ones of people with TBI as well as an inspiring story of Dolen’s recovery despite all odds. After the car accident that left her injured, her doctors gave her a poor prognosis but eventually proved them wrong. 

Dolen also describes for laypeople what happens to the brain when it’s injured and how many aspects of a person’s health and wellness are often affected. There are also chapters that guide readers and their caregivers on the types of care TBI survivors need to recover physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. 


7. He Never Liked Cake by Janna Leyde  

In this book, Leyde talks about what it’s like to be a child growing up with a brain-injured parent. She writes honestly and compassionately about her father’s struggles after experiencing a TBI after a car accident to gain access to the care he needs to recover. 

The book also discusses how Leyde’s father’s TBI affected their family. She recounts the “new normal” they transitioned to after the accident and describes her mother’s resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Ultimately, “He Never Liked Cake” is an inspiring story of a family who had to deal with a life-altering blow and how they learned to embrace their new lives with grace and hope. 


Educational and Informative Traumatic Brain Injury Books 

8. Successfully Surviving a Brain Injury: A Family Guidebook, from the Emergency Room to Selecting a Rehabilitation Facility by Garry Prowe 

TBIs are often a result of unforeseen circumstances. As such, few families are prepared for the many changes that a TBI diagnosis brings to both the survivor and their loved ones. 

There are countless things to learn about and do, from filing insurance claims to finding the right doctor and treatment plan. This book aims to help readers through the recovery period by providing the practical information and resources they need to navigate the recovery process.  


9. The Traumatized Brain: A Family Guide to Understanding Mood, Memory, and Behavior after Brain Injury by Vani Rao Author and Sandeep Vaishnavi 

Two neuropsychiatrists wrote this John Hopkins Press Health Book. Vani Rao and Sandeep Vaishnavi. It contains a wealth of helpful information for TBI patients and their loved ones. In it, you will find eye-opening insights into brain injuries’ effects on the brain. 

It also provides guidance on treatment options for the behavioral, emotional, and neurological symptoms of TBI. Additionally, it offers advice on managing changes to cognitive functions like attention and language. 

Coping with a TBI can be extremely challenging, and the road to recovery may seem long and fraught with obstacles. This book aims to smoothen the path to healing by providing evidence-based, targeted tips and suggestions on everything from treatments and medications to counseling. 


10. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge

This book delves into neuroplasticity, or the lifelong ability of the brain to change and adapt in response to learning, experiences, and even brain trauma. Neuroplasticity challenges the established notion that the brain is unable to be changed. 

The book’s author, Norman Doidge, M.D., a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, talks about how neuroplasticity works in terms that are easy to understand. Additionally, the book is peppered with stories of people who have regained or developed senses and abilities despite limitations, such as brain injuries. 

While the science in it may be slightly dated, as it was originally published in 2007, this book is a worthy read for those who want to read hopeful stories of personal triumph over TBIs and other conditions affecting the brain. 


Get Personalized Care and Support When Navigating A Traumatic Brain Injury 

Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute is a pioneer in post-acute brain injury treatment and rehabilitation. We offer a holistic approach to care, providing personalized treatment plans that consider patients’ cognitive, behavioral, and physical challenges. 


Our services include: 


Through our services, we aim to help TBI survivors improve their quality of life as well as provide ongoing support to their loved ones throughout the rehabilitation journey. 

Learn more about our program, facilities, and services by reaching out to us. You may give us a call at (409) 762-6661 or fill out our online form to inquire about scheduling a tour. 



Strokes are medical conditions that affect millions globally. In the United States, more than 795,000 people have a stroke each year, with about 610,000 cases being first or new strokes. 

These can lead to a wide range of physical and cognitive impairments. Speech and language disorders are among the most common and most challenging consequences of strokes, occurring in about a third of stroke survivors. 

Understanding Stroke-Induced Speech & Language Disorders

Stroke-induced speech and language disorders significantly impact communication abilities. Among these, aphasia, dysarthria, and apraxia of speech are prevalent. Understanding how they are diagnosed and their specific symptoms can aid in prompt and effective management.


Aphasia is a common outcome of stroke, manifesting as difficulty in speaking, understanding, reading, and writing. There are many different types of aphasia, depending on the affected brain area, and are categorized based on the symptoms present:

  • Expressive Aphasia (Broca’s Aphasia): Characterized by broken speech, limited vocabulary, and difficulty forming complete sentences. Patients often understand what is being said to them but struggle to verbalize responses.
  • Receptive Aphasia (Wernicke’s Aphasia): Patients can produce fluent speech but may lack meaning or include nonsensical words. They often have significant difficulty understanding spoken language.
  • Global Aphasia: A severe form of aphasia where individuals have extensive difficulties with both speech production and comprehension.
  • Anomic Aphasia: Individuals have difficulty finding words, particularly nouns and verbs, making their speech sound vague.


Dysarthria is a speech disorder that affects 20-30% of stroke survivors. It occurs when stroke impacts the muscles responsible for speech, leading to slurred or slow speech that can be hard to understand. It is typically diagnosed through a physical examination and a series of speech evaluations conducted by a speech-language pathologist (SLP). 

It is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Slurred or slow speech that can be difficult to understand
  • Monotone or robotic-sounding speech
  • Difficulty controlling the volume of speech, which may be too loud or too soft
  • Challenges with the rhythm and flow of speech, including rapid speech that’s hard to interrupt or slow, drawn-out speech
  • Respiratory issues affecting the ability to speak loudly or for extended periods

Apraxia of Speech (AOS)

Apraxia of speech is a neurological disorder characterized by difficulty sequencing the movements needed for speech. This is caused by the impact of the stroke on the brain’s pathways involved in producing speech. 

Patients with AOS know what they want to say but struggle to coordinate the muscle movements to articulate words correctly. This results in distorted speech, difficulty initiating speech, or the inability to accurately produce speech sounds or sequences of sounds. 

How Long Is the Stroke Speech & Language Recovery Time?

According to one study on post-stroke speech and language therapy, approximately one-third of stroke patients experience speech problems after a stroke. Many of these individuals begin to recover within a few months, with significant progress typically observed within three to six months.

In another study, 62% of subjects had speech challenges after suffering from a stroke. By six months post-stroke, 74% were able to completely recover their communication abilities. 

However, the figures above provide a general timeline for post-stroke speech and language recovery. Stroke speech recovery time is highly individualized and can vary depending on several factors. These can include the following:

  • Severity of the Stroke: More severe strokes often lead to extensive brain damage, resulting in longer and more challenging recovery periods for speech.
  • Location of the Brain Injury: The brain’s specific regions control different speech and language functions; damage to these areas directly impacts recovery complexity and duration.
  • Age and Overall Health of the Patient: Generally, younger patients with better overall health before the stroke tend to experience faster and more complete recoveries.
  • Pre-existing Conditions and Comorbidities: Conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can slow down recovery by complicating the overall health scenario and rehabilitation process.
  • Individual Variability and Resilience: Personal resilience, the support system’s strength, and the individual’s motivation significantly influence the pace and success of speech recovery efforts.

The first three months after a stroke is a crucial period for recovery, as a majority of stroke patients see the most significant improvement during this period. However, it’s also important to note that, although at a slower pace, recovery can continue well past the 6-month mark with continued therapy and practice. 

This underpins the importance of early intervention and ongoing rehabilitation efforts, including speech therapy, to maximize each patient’s recovery potential. 

What Does the Stroke Speech & Language Recovery Process Look Like?

The journey to regain speech and language after a stroke is multifaceted and varies significantly from one individual to another. Understanding the structured phases of recovery can provide insight into what patients and their families can expect during this challenging time. 

Here’s a closer examination of each phase in the stroke speech recovery process.

Initial Assessment and Diagnosis

Before recovery can begin, a thorough evaluation is conducted by a team of healthcare professionals led by an SLP. This assessment aims to identify the type and severity of the speech and language disorder, be it aphasia, dysarthria, or AOS. The evaluation may include cognitive-linguistic assessments, comprehension tests, speech production analysis, and functional communication measures. 

Based on this assessment, a personalized therapy plan is crafted to address the patient’s specific needs.

Acute Phase

The acute phase typically occurs within the first days to weeks following a stroke. During this period, medical stabilization is the primary focus, with healthcare teams working to manage the immediate effects of the stroke. 

Speech therapy may begin with simple exercises or assessments to gauge the patient’s abilities. However, intensive therapy usually does not start until the patient is medically stable. During the acute phase, the goal is to support overall recovery and prevent complications immediately after the stroke.

Subacute Phase

The subacute phase generally spans from two weeks to three months post-stroke and is characterized by more intensive speech therapy interventions. As the patient’s medical condition stabilizes, the focus shifts to active rehabilitation. Therapy during this phase is tailored to the individual’s specific speech and language deficits and may include:

  • Exercises to improve articulation, fluency, and voice control for those with dysarthria.
  • Language therapy to enhance understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills in patients with aphasia.
  • Motor speech exercises and strategies to improve speech planning and production in apraxia of speech.

The subacute phase is crucial for taking advantage of the brain’s natural recovery processes and neuroplasticity, where the brain begins reorganizing and adapting to the loss of function.

Chronic Phase

The chronic phase of recovery extends from several months to years after the stroke. It focuses on long-term rehabilitation and adjustment to any residual speech deficits. During this time, patients may continue to see gradual improvements in their speech and language abilities, although the rate of recovery may slow. Therapy in the chronic phase often includes:

  • Advanced communication strategies to cope with ongoing challenges in daily life.
  • Maintenance exercises to preserve and enhance speech gains achieved in earlier phases.
  • Supportive technologies and aids, such as communication devices, to assist in effective communication.
  • Community reintegration activities to help patients return to as normal a life as possible, engaging in social, vocational, or recreational activities.

What Is the Role of Neuroplasticity in Speech & Language Recovery?

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s fundamental property to change and adapt its responses to new experiences, learning, and environmental changes. This adaptive capacity enables the brain to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.

When the brain, or a part of the brain, is damaged after a stroke, neuroplasticity is what allows the other parts of the brain to take over the functions of the damaged area. Through targeted rehabilitation and therapy, such as speech therapy for stroke survivors, patients can retrain other brain areas to perform the lost functions and facilitate recovery.

Enhancing Stroke Speech & Language Recovery Time

Adopting a comprehensive approach involving several key strategies is vital to enhance the stroke speech and language recovery time. This multifaceted approach can maximize the chances of regaining speech and communication abilities.

This comprehensive approach must incorporate the following strategies:

  • Early intervention to leverage the brain’s highest potential for neuroplasticity in the initial period following a stroke, significantly improving the chances for recovery.
  • Alternative communication strategies, such as gestures, writing, and visual aids, to help maintain communication during the recovery process. 
  • Adopting technology, including speech-generating devices and software applications designed for speech rehabilitation, for personalized exercises and continuous practice, which is vital for progress.
  • Providing continuous support from psychologists, support groups, and therapy to help manage feelings of frustration, depression, and anxiety, fostering a positive mindset essential for rehabilitation.
  • A healthy diet and lifestyle to supply essential nutrients that support brain function, along with regular physical activity, adequate sleep, and management of medical conditions.

Begin Your Post-Stroke Recovery Journey With Moody Neurorehabilitation

Moody Neurorehabilitation understands the complexities and challenges that come with post-stroke rehabilitation. We are dedicated to supporting patients and their families through this critical time with specialized care and personalized treatment plans.

Since our inception in 1982, Moody Neurorehabilitation has been a leader in brain injury rehabilitation. Our approach centers on providing comprehensive care tailored to each patient’s needs and goals. We believe in treating the whole person, not just the symptoms, to improve overall quality of life.

We invite you to start your recovery journey with us. Contact Moody Neurorehabilitation today to schedule a consultation with our experts. Let us help you navigate the path to recovery with care, compassion, and expertise.