Author shares personal experience of traumatic brain injury

Marisa Caban

Chief Photographer–


Students and faculty met to listen to theories and research done on traumatic brain injuries by a marine veteran and also a victim of TBI, C. Mark Riden, on Nov. 13 in the Raider Room.

Riden has researched TBI in veterans, National Football League players and college football players to find out what causes TBIs and what could possibly prevent them. He shared this information during his lecture.

TBI Lecture

C. Mark Riden shows a picture of the human brain, explaining the severity of brain trauma. (Photo by Marisa Caban)

“Brain injury is an epidemic — 1.8 to 3 million kids and young adults go through brain injuries,” Riden said.

TBI has no bias on the person it affects. The first impact will cause some damage, but the most damage comes from the recoil when the brain is moving around, Riden said.

In his book “The Brain Moves,” Riden discusses many of these theories of the physical effects that the actual impact of injury has on the brain, not only in football players, but in veterans, too.

Riden said veterans in combat are often subject to explosions, improvised explosive devices and other blunt force trauma; even if it doesn’t leave outward physical evidence, the force can still cause major damage.

He implored those who may know someone who has suffered any form of a brain or head injury, or if they themselves suspect that they have one, to seek immediate medical attention.

“The brain is delicate,” he said. “It’s amazing more people haven’t died from brain injuries.”

Riden was a part of three studies on TBI. One for veterans, another on NFL players and in 2012 he participated in a study at UCO on student athletes.

In the UCO study, Riden found that 37 percent of college football players had suffered concussions and that students are willing to hide injuries to continue to compete, reinforcing the social stigma of “toughness.”

During the study on NFL players, Riden monitored four NFL teams over the course of 17 weeks.

“What I found was of the 36 injuries that occurred in the teams, four of them were brain injuries. For every 12 players, there’s a brain injury,” he said.

Riden said he found during his study on veterans that post-traumatic stress disorder and TBI have several overlapping symptoms.

Rather than telling people who play football or other contact sports, or those who serve in the military, to stop what they are doing, Riden suggested to reach out to those at risk, educate them on TBI and give them support.

For more information on Riden’s research or to purchase his book, visit his website:


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