Fluid percussion was first conceptualized in the 1940s and has evolved into one of the leading laboratory methods for studying experimental traumatic brain injury (TBI). Over the decades, fluid percussion has been used in numerous species and today is predominantly applied to the rat. The fluid percussion technique rapidly injects a small volume of fluid, such as isotonic saline, through a circular craniotomy onto the intact dura overlying the brain cortex. In brief, the methods involve surgical production of a circular craniotomy, attachment of a fluid-filled conduit between the dura overlying the cortex and the outlet port of the fluid percussion device. A fluid pulse is then generated by the free-fall of a pendulum striking a piston on the fluid-filled cylinder of the device. The fluid enters the cranium, producing a compression and displacement of the brain parenchyma resulting in a sharp, high magnitude elevation of intracranial pressure that is propagated diffusely through the brain. This results in an immediate and transient period of traumatic unconsciousness as well as a combination of focal and diffuse damage to the brain, which is evident upon histological and behavioral analysis. Numerous studies have demonstrated that the rat fluid percussion model reproduces a wide range of pathological features associated with human TBI.