Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant public health problem in the United States. Despite preclinical success of various drugs, to date all clinical trials investigating potential therapeutics have failed. Recently, sex steroid hormones have sparked interest as possible neuroprotective agents after traumatic injury. One of these is 17β-estradiol (E2), the most abundant and potent endogenous vertebrate estrogen. The goal of our study was to investigate the acute potential protective effects of E2 or the specific G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER) agonist G-1 when administered in an intravenous bolus dose 1 hour post-injury in the lateral fluid percussion (LFP) rodent model of TBI. The results of this study show that, when assessed at 24 hours post-injury, E2 or G-1 confers protection in adult male rats subjected to LFP brain injury. Specifically, we found that an acute bolus dose of E2 or G-1 administered intravenously 1 hour post-TBI significantly increases neuronal survival in the ipsilateral CA 2/3 region of the hippocampus and decreases neuronal degeneration and apoptotic cell death in both the ipsilateral cortex and CA 2/3 region of the hippocampus. We also report a significant reduction in astrogliosis in the ipsilateral cortex, hilus, and CA 2/3 region of the hippocampus. Finally, these effects were observed to be chiefly dose-dependent for E2, with the 5 mg/kg dose generating a more robust level of protection. Our findings further elucidate estrogenic compounds as a clinically relevant pharmacotherapeutic strategy for treatment of secondary injury following TBI, and intriguingly, reveal a novel potential therapeutic target in GPER. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.