Can I Get a FAA Medical Certificate with a TBI?

  • ON Mar 03, 2021
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Can I Get a FAA Medical Certificate with a  TBI? This is a question that we are asked frequently by airmen who have had a head injury. This firm most frequently sees airmen attempting to achieve FAA medical certification despite a history of traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) resulting from an automobile or aircraft accident, a fall, injuries incurred in the military, or as the result of another traumatic injury.  Of course, every case is different; however, it may be possible to achieve FAA medical certification following a TBI. There are very specific items that the FAA will evaluate in order to establish whether your history of TBI puts you at risk for developing aeromedically significant, side-effects, subsequent to the injury.

In practice, the FAA stresses a concern for posttraumatic epilepsy or seizures, following a TBI. Specifically, the FAA has identified that excess risk of seizures remains elevated for 10 years after mild brain injury. For the most part, we commonly work with airmen who are several months, post-injury and experiencing no symptoms. In most cases, the airman’s treating neurologist has even cleared the airman back to work and has expressed no concern for the development of seizures. The FAA, however, in an abundance of caution, will typically be very cautious with how long the agency will require an airman to wait, prior to considering the airman for medical certification.

If you’ve had a TBI, you can expect the FAA to want to review a number of items, to assess your neurological and neuropsychological status, as well as your risk for developing seizures. This may include review of all medical records, including pre-hospital, emergency department, specialty consultation, and operative reports. Typically, the FAA will also request a neuropsychological evaluation (to FAA standards), as well as a MRI with specific hemosiderin protocol.

If the FAA is asking you for medical records and evaluation following a TBI, be careful how you respond and what information you provide. Keep in mind that you may be able to argue to the FAA that previously completed, diagnostic workup supports your eligibility for medical certification and that additional evaluation may be unnecessary. If there is an opportunity to avoid unnecessary, expensive, and potentially problematic evaluation and imaging, that opportunity should be considered with a FAA medical attorney who is familiar with the FAA’s TBI protocol.

If you are asking “can I Get a FAA Medical Certificate with a History of TBI,” call to have a consultation with a FAA defense attorney at The Ison Law Firm. Our attorneys can evaluate your case and provide important counsel, as you develop an appropriate response to the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine.