Traumatic Brain Injury Center

701 Park Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55415

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The Traumatic Brain Injury Center at Hennepin County Medical Center offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary patient care, education and research to serve people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). We provide a full range of state-of-the-art medical and rehabilitative services. Our expertise spans the entire continuum of care for adult and pediatric TBI patients, from prevention to emergency care, neurosurgery, critical care, rehabilitation and the Traumatic Brain Injury Outpatient Program.

Each year the staff within the Traumatic Brain Injury Center cares for over 2,000 patients. We are here to provide you with nationally recognized medical expertise, advanced technology and committed, compassionate care from all members of our team. Hennepin County Medical Center is the #1 hospital in the state of Minnesota for admitting TBI patients and has been so for many years.

Sarah Rockswold Small Photo Sarah B. Rockswold, MD
Medical Director
Carol Ann Smith Small Photo Carol Ann Smith, RN, CNRN
Program Coordinator

Additional Information

The Traumatic Brain Injury Center’s brain injury services span the continuum of care from inpatient to outpatient care for both adults and children.

Inpatient Services

Many patients begin their journey in the HCMC Emergency Department and are admitted to the Surgical/Trauma/Neuroscience (STN) Intensive Care, Intermediate Care or Team Center for adult patients and Pediatric Intensive Care for children, where care is delivered by neurosurgeons, trauma surgeons, pediatric intensivists, nurses and therapists who are experts in neuroscience. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, trauma staff physicians and neurosurgery service physicians stay at the hospital 24 hours a day, ready to deliver state-of-the art care including intracranial pressure and oxygen monitoring for those severely injured. TBI specific education is a priority and resource information is given to patients and families. When appropriate, patients are referred to our rehabilitation center and TBI Outpatient Program.

Pediatric Brain Injury

HCMC has had a dedicated Pediatric Brain Injury Program since 1989 that serves hundreds of children each year. We were the first program in the nation to publish guidelines on returning children with mild brain injury to school and this remains a hallmark of our program with a dedicated coordinator/social worker. Many young patients enter our program through our Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. For more information about this program, visit the Pediatric Brain Injury Program page.


Rehabilitation begins at admission and TBI inpatients are seen by Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physicians and therapists in a timely manner. When appropriate, inpatient and/or outpatient rehabilitation is provided by the Miland E. Knapp Rehabilitation Center. About 70% of all patients at Knapp Rehab are there because they have had a brain injury due to trauma or stroke. The physicians, nurses and therapists are expert at caring for people who have sustained a brain injury. Knapp was the first rehabilitation center in Minnesota to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities for its Adult and Adolescent Inpatient Program with a specialty accreditation for Brain Injury Rehabilitation.

Outpatient Programs

Patients are seen in the HCMC TBI outpatient programs after hospital discharge or by referral from another hospital or clinic. Patients can also self-refer. The TBI Outpatient Program sees patients of all ages. Ages 13 and older are seen at our Parkside location. Patients 12 years and younger are seen in the Pediatric Clinic. For more information on the outpatient program, visit the Traumatic Brain Injury Outpatient Program page.

Developmental Optometry

HCMC provides expertise in Developmental Optometry. Mild, moderate and severe brain injuries often result in vision problems and are often overlooked. If there is injury to the visual centers of the brain, therapies can improve the ability of eye tracking and eye teaming ability following a brain injury. HCMC is privileged to provide developmental optometry. Appointments must be made through the TBI Outpatient Program.

Brain Injury Research

HCMC is renowned for their research in traumatic brain injury (TBI). For many years, neurosurgeons, emergency medicine physicians and physical medicine & rehabilitation physicians have contributed exceptional research in brain injury. Dr. Gaylan Rockswold, MD, PhD Chief of Neurosurgery from 1979-2011 and Medical Director of the TBI Center from 2006-2015 (retired), has contributed four NIH funded research projects and multiple other studies for the treatment of severe traumatic brain injury. Dr. Sarah Rockswold, MD, Medical Director of the TBI Outpatient Program and TBI Center, has two current research projects in oculomotor dysfunction after TBI. With the addition of neurosurgeon Dr. Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD as the Rockswold Kaplan TBI Endowed Chair this life changing research will continue for years to come.

TBI Prevention

The only "cure" for brain injury is prevention. The TBI Center and the HCMC Trauma Services Department host many community events focusing on brain injury prevention. The "Brain Bar" can be seen at local sporting and community events. The award winning website has many resources about TBI prevention including an athlete’s pledge. For more information visit the Trauma Prevention Program page.

For more information on the Traumatic Brain Injury Center and brain injury services please call the TBI Center Program Coordinator Carol Ann Smith, RN, CNRN at 612-873-3284.