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Brain Injury Facts

Worldwide

Of all types of injury, those to the brain are among the most likely to result in death or permanent disability (1)

Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of seizure disorders.

The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted standards for the surveillance of central nervous system injury in 1993.

United States

Annually:

  • One million Americans are treated and released from hospital emergency departments as a result of traumatic brain injury (TBI). (2)
  • 230,000 people are hospitalized and survive (3)
  • 80,000 people are estimated to be discharged from the hospital with some TBI-related disability (4)
  • 50,000 people die (5)

An estimated 5.3 million Americans are living today with disability related to traumatic brain injury. (6)

Most studies indicate that males are far more likely to incur a TBI as females.

The highest rate of injury occurs in between the ages of 15-24 years. Persons under the age of 5 or over the age of 75 are also at higher risk.

Europe

In the European Union, brain injury accounts for one million hospital admissions per year.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Motor Vehicle Crashes account for 50% of all TBIs. This includes autos, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians hit by vehicles.
  • The leading causes of TBI vary by age: falls are the leading cause of TBI among persons aged 65 years and older; transportation is the leading cause of TBI among persons under the age of 65 years.
  • Estimates suggest that sports related brain injury accounts for close to 300,000 injuries each year, with winter sports such as skiing and ice-skating accounting for close to 20,000 brain injuries. (7)

Consequences of Brain Injury

Brain Injury can cause many kinds of physical, cognitive, and behavioral/emotional impairments that may be either temporary or permanent. Impairments may range from subtle to severe. Brain injury may result in seizure disorders.

Brain Injury is a public health concern that demands ongoing epidemiological study, increased efforts to prevent injuries from occurring, and research to advance medical options and therapeutic interventions.

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey , 1995-1996, of the National Center for Health Statistics.
  3. Data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey , 1996, of the National Center for Health Statistics.
  4. Guerrero JL, Leadbetter S, Thurman DJ, Whiteneck G, and Sniezek JE. A method for estimating the prevalence of disability from traumatic brain injury. In preparation.
  5. Unpublished data from Multiple Cause of Death Public Use Data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 1996.
  6. Guerrero JL, Leadbetter S, Thurman DJ, Whiteneck G, and Sniezek JE. A method for estimating the prevalence of disability from traumatic brain injury. In preparation.
  7. Thurman DJ, Branche CM, Sniezek JE. The Epidemioogy of Sports-Related Brain Injuries in the United States: Recent Developments. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation 1998.