October 3, 2023

1. Cognitive Abilities:

Attention and Concentration: Can the individual maintain attention over extended periods?

Memory: Is the patient’s short-term and long-term memory affected?

Processing Speed: How quickly can the individual understand and respond to information?

2. Physical Capabilities:

Endurance: Can the individual complete a full day’s work or only part-time?

Physical strength and coordination: Essential for jobs requiring manual labour or fine motor skills.

Balance: This is especially significant if the job involves working at heights or on uneven surfaces.

3. Emotional and Behavioural Health:

Mood changes, irritability, and symptoms of depression or anxiety can impact an individual’s ability to work in a team or deal with job stresses.

4. Sensory Disturbances:

Vision: Blurred vision or sensitivity to light may affect tasks requiring visual precision.

Hearing: Sensitivity to noise or hearing disturbances can be barriers in specific job environments.

5. Fatigue:

Post-concussive symptoms often include fatigue, which can reduce stamina and overall work efficiency.

6. Accommodations and Job Modifications:

The workplace may need specific accommodations, such as reducing screen time, giving frequent breaks, offering a quiet workspace, or altering lighting.

7. Return to Work Protocol:

Gradual Return: Consider a phased return to work, starting with half-days or reduced hours and gradually increasing.

Modified Duties: Depending on the symptoms, the individual might initially need a modified set of duties that excludes strenuous or high-concentration tasks.

8. Ongoing Monitoring:

Continuous assessment is vital. Even if an individual returns to work, they should be regularly evaluated for symptom resurgence or any challenges faced during work.

9. Specialist Evaluations:

Occupational therapists or vocational rehab specialists can provide a detailed assessment of the individual’s capacity to work and suggest necessary modifications.


Determining the capacity to work following a mild TBI requires a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s physical, cognitive, and emotional state. It’s essential to balance the need for recovery with the benefits of returning to a routine and normalcy. Every patient’s experience post-injury is unique, so regular evaluations and adjustments to the treatment plan are necessary. It is also crucial for employers and colleagues to be understanding and accommodating during this period.

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