There is a need for pharmaceutical agents that can reduce neuronal loss and improve functional deficits following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Previous research suggests that oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction play a major role in neuronal damage after TBI. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate two drugs known to have antioxidant effects, L-carnitine and exendin-4, in rats with moderate contusive TBI. L-carnitine (1.5 mM in drinking water) or exendin-4 (15 μg/kg/day, ip) were given immediately after the injury for 2 weeks. Neurological function and brain histology were examined (24 h and 6 weeks post injury). The rats with TBI showed slight sensory, motor and memory functional deficits at 24 h, but recovered by 6 weeks. Both treatments improved sensory and motor functions at 24 h, while only exendin-4 improved memory. Both treatments reduced cortical contusion at 24 h and 6 weeks, however neither affected gliosis and inflammatory cell activation. Oxidative stress was alleviated and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species was reduced by both treatments, however only mitochondrial functional marker protein transporter translocase of outer membrane 20 was increased at 24 h post injury. In conclusion, L-carnitine and exendin-4 treatments immediately after TBI can improve neurological functional outcome and tissue integrity by reducing oxidative stress.