Objective: To examine the frequency and experience of return to secondary or tertiary study over a 10-year period following traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Participants: A group of 295 students with moderate to severe TBI followed prospectively.
Setting: Epworth HealthCare TBI outpatient rehabilitation program follow-up clinic 1 to 10 years postinjury.
Main Outcome Measures: Frequency of return to study. Also, for a subset, changes in course enrollment, utilization of additional educational supports, and experience of return to study postinjury.
Results: Of those studying preinjury, 295 attended the follow-up clinic appointments, with 167 (56%) having returned to study. Those who did not return to study had significantly longer posttraumatic amnesia duration. The cross-sectional follow-up revealed that 60.4% were studying at 1 year postinjury, 37.5% at 2 years postinjury, 50.0% at 3 years postinjury, 31.1% at 5 years postinjury, and 2.0% at 10 years postinjury. Many had migrated into employment. A subsample of 95 participants reported on their educational experience. Of those, 28.7% changed their course enrollment from full-time to part-time. While supports such as tuition and special consideration were greatly increased postinjury, students reported the proportion of subjects passed of 79.0%. However, they experienced cognitive difficulties and fatigue and felt less satisfied with their studies.
Conclusions: Return to study was relatively successful; however, this was associated with the experience of fatigue and need for far greater effort, assistance and reduced study hours, and somewhat less overall satisfaction.