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9 1/2 Need-to-Know Facts About Traumatic Brain Injury

Comments [33]

Brian King and Victoria Tilney McDonough, BrainLine

9 1/2 Need-to-Know Things About Traumatic Brian Injury
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An estimated 5.3 million Americans — about 2 percent of the U.S. population — currently have a long-term or lifelong need for help with everyday activities due to traumatic brain injury (TBI). (1) Many believe this number to be low as it only takes into account the number of reported injuries to hospital emergency rooms and by health care professionals. We've compiled the top 9 1/2 things to know about traumatic brain injury, it would have been 10 but the last 1/2 was left off because memory is often affected by traumatic brain injury.

1. A traumatic brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. You do not need to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion.

2. 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year in the United States. By the numbers, every American has more than a 1:300 chance of sustaining a traumatic brain injury each year. (2)

3. The three groups at highest risk for traumatic brain injury are children (0-4 year olds), teenagers (15-19 year olds), and adults (65 and older). (2)

4. Estimates peg the number of sports-related traumatic brain injuries as high as 3.8 million per year. (2)

5. Using a seatbelt and wearing a helmet are the best ways to prevent a TBI.

6. Males are almost twice as likely as females to sustain a TBI.

7. A concussion is a mild brain injury. The consequences of multiple concussions can be far more dangerous than those of a first TBI. (3)

8. The area most often injured are the frontal lobes that control thinking and emotional regulation.

9. A blow to one part of the brain can cause damage throughout.

9 1/2. Most people do make a good recovery from TBI.

If you found this useful, please share with family and friends or leave a comment below if you think we've left something off.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/BlueBook_factsheet-a.pdf
  2. Langlois JA, Rutland-Brown W, Thomas KE. Traumatic brain injury in the United States: emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2006.
  3. Cifu, David, MD. eMedicine.com. www.emedicine.com/sports/TOPIC113.HTM.

BrainLine

Comments [33]

I just read one of the facts that states: one injury to the can affect different parts of the brain. This helps me to understand the reason why I couldn't pinpoint my husband's injury to just one specific part of the brain. He has symptoms from different areas other than where they said his hemorrhagic stroke occurred which was in the basal ganglia. Thank You for the info!!

Oct 22nd, 2014 1:45pm

I work for a company in Wisconsin that provides group homes for adults with traumatic and acquired brain injuries. 

Sep 27th, 2014 8:04pm

I read a brave TBI survivor's comments comparing the aftermath of living everyday with the result of this injury to someone with cancer. The viewpoint was having cancer was so much worse. I ask why would cancer be considered "so much worse". Both are devastating and totally different but cancer being so much worse.....I disagree. That is a common problem with this invisible injury. It is time to bring world wide awareness about traumatic brain injury and how many issues come with this injury. It is time for medical professionals to become better educated themselves. It is time for every hospital in the United States to provide ANY form of support to the millions of people suffering brain injury. In Central Ohio there is no support or resources available. One would think THE Ohio State Medical Center would offer state of the art rehabilitation and have multiple support groups for survivors in different age categories and type of injury as well as support for families. Dodd Hall at OSU made sure my daughter could fry an egg and fix a meal and out the door she went. There is no real brain injury association in this state. Ohio get with the program.....get on board and help those suffering every single day of their lives. People are released from hospitals being told nothing regarding what their future could present with no assistance what so ever. Survivors and their families are left to educate themselves, learning as they go, no one to advocate on their behalf. It is criminal.

Sep 27th, 2014 8:09am

husband sustained tbi/stroke form a m/c accident  back in '05, he is also paralyzed on the irght side, he has been home for 7 yrs, we've been married for almost 39 yrs..the only unplesantness ive had is dealing with our state govt and how tey treat him its the hardest thing to deal with..because as much as they say they help us..they do nothing but impede what my joe needs, fighting with them for almost 5 months to get him into a day program..and its been a battle ever since..have gone through a state rep, the governors office , and even a state senator..and we are still no closer to getting him the help he needs..the state puts more pressure on caregivers  ..fighting the battle alone..and my joe still sits and "waits"..nobody helps..joe isnt the stressor..its state policy..

Sep 26th, 2014 6:23am

Problems with counting, reading comprehension, and organization are debilitating

Sep 26th, 2014 1:03am

My son has TBI and anoxia, he was in an accident. He has been in a vegetative state for 17 years and had to be move twice because they keep closing rehab hospitals for him to be in, the on he is in now is a nursing home with no activities and we were with him for 5 hours and no one came in to check if he had to be cleaned or not

Sep 25th, 2014 7:09pm

Thank you for sharing some insight on this subject matter. Jared Goodman sustained his TBI on September the first, two-thousand and eleven. Him along with his passenger were dead on arrival (DOA), whereas paramedics (station 26) done a miraculous job in recessitating the two you men.After they were revived, extracted, and then rushed to one of Memphis Tennessee's best, furthermore only regional Medical center in this region, upon emergency triage Doctors conclude the passanger had a moderate TBI, during the time Jared had a severe TBI. There are some refutable fact about statistics you have gathered, although it may appear to be correct if the average, or mean property is applied. On your, "3. The three groups at highest risk for traumatic brain injury are children (0-4 year olds), teenagers (15-19 year olds), and adults (65 and older)." Well, they wear you adults when this occurred, which places them beyond the threshold of statement 3. Yes the passanger fell into that category, except Jared did not, since his age was 20 when this incident happened. Close, but not within the said constrains. Jared, who suffered the brunt of the accident, spent fourty day at the MED. Where the passanger only spent fifteen, give or take a day with either subjects. They were transferred by ambulance, Jared to Bentonville, Arkansas. The passanger was delivered to a facility in Tallahassee, Flordia. Where the two of them continued their therapy from separate locations.

Sep 25th, 2014 6:54pm

One more comment- a patent spoke about an upcoming MRI for her son. It's critically important to know that MRI's can also be deceptive, in that typical MRI's show only 1/2 to 1/6 of the amount of damage shown by suseptibility weighted MRI's. The trauma to the brain is therefore at least twice to six times that shown in a typical MRI vs. the enhanced study. One has to wonder just how much additional damage will be found as imaging techniques improve.

Sep 25th, 2014 5:30pm

Number five is almost certainly wrong, and correcting this information is critically important for many reasons, but most importantly I think is the fact that wearing a helmet can give the helmet wearer a false sense of security (and also fool caregivers into believing that if a helmet is worn, a TBI almost certainly didn't occur). Some very excellent and peer reviewed research has shown that even at moderate speeds, helmets do not-do not- prevent acceleration/deceleration TBI's. I'd be happy to supply the references to anyone interested. Bottom line is that motorcycling, for example, is unsafe whether helmeted or not (as are many other at speed activities). Our brains simply aren't adapted to the rapid deceleration a we experience in many impacts, and I believe very strongly people need to be aware of this. Thankfully, some helmet manufacturers are aware of this fact and are researching new helmet designs that may decrease the force the brain experiences during acceleration/deceleration episodes.

Sep 25th, 2014 5:25pm

Thank you for at least some validation for my son who suffered a concussion snowboarding 3 months ago. It was a "party weekend" with a lot of drinking,etc no sleep, so initial headache was assumed to be attributed to hangover. a month later, got headache. Never had one before in his life. Finally went to ER and "migraine was diagnosed" Given two shots and script for imitrex, which he still feels "fried his brain" Getting palpitations, HA, flashes of light, shooting pains, photosensitivity, and a great deal of anger and depression because he thinks everyone thinks he is a "pussy". Now finally insisted on MRI and get results today. Hoping for some better news, but still scared to death. mom in limbo

Apr 9th, 2013 12:54pm

my name is Lance i,ve had Neurosurgery 4 times i had a Tumour in 1995 followed by 2 Abcesses,then my Epilepsy got worse,after test in 1996 i was able to have my Temporal lobe removed at Frenchay in Bristol in the UK,I,m now fit free but still taking my medication

Jan 4th, 2013 5:45pm

For support there is now a site called trymunity.com

Jun 11th, 2012 8:42pm

Why are there are these facts about what TBI is, signs and symptoms, etc., but nothing about where to get help? What I need to know is what to do about it, where to go for help. I am so frustrated. I have a brother who is in desperate need of help and I can't seem to find resources anywhere.

May 7th, 2012 11:46am

I am truly sorry that so many of you are out there! If any of you are near the Western NY area we should create a support group.

Mar 27th, 2012 5:02pm

I bruised 75% of my brain in a head-on collision January 1, 1987. I am currently in school at Columbus State Community College, studying Construction Management. I am thankful for this information being available to me now, I\\\'ve gone through this without a supportgroup.

Mar 13th, 2012 5:20pm

I was hit by a car when I was 5 while standing on a sidewalk at school. I was unconscious for a time and sustained other injuries. I did well after but then in my thirties a car hit me while I was coming down a hill and spun my car around. It took the doctors 3 years to diagnose my TBI. It started out with just extreme pain. Every time I think I've reached the highest level of pain, a new one comes on. I now also am having extreme memory problems. I can't remember words, what a show was about that I watched the day before or if I talked to somebody during the day. It's very frustrating, I have to take a lot of meds but I'm thankful at 45 to be alive and be married to a wonderful man and have a beautiful daughter. I am basically housebound but tell myself that there are people who are worse off than me. I just pray every day that something new isn't going to pop up!

Jan 10th, 2012 6:04pm

I have been in four car \'accidents\' in the past two years. One the car flipped after hydroplaning, two the tire blew out and I just remember walking down the interstate with a broken nose (didn\'t know that at the time I was numb), three I can\'t even remember as well as four... in fact I was happy to find the insurance, tow truck number etc. in my wet pocket (in my jeans on the floor) after the last wreck. I can\'t remember anything anymore and it\'s frustrating me to exhaustion and causing huge problems in my relationship and have lost my job due to the after-effects. I had a huge swollen bump on the back of my head for about 2 months and now it\'s a dent in my skull. I have no insurance so obviously I don\'t matter. Anybody have a clue what I can do to help myself? I can\'t remember anything anymore.

Dec 10th, 2011 1:59am

My MTBI occurred on Friday the 13th, 11 years ago. NO JOKE. Thank goodness I was at work for a very large & prominent company, & was fortunate enough to recieve the very best of medical care. After months in a hospital with a nationall,y recognized head trauma unit, brain surgery for a resulting brain anurysm,4 more subdural hematomas due to my balance disorder, & resulting epilepsy, I still hit the floor every morning grateful to be alive. My last name is Faith, think thats a hint????? I take 13 meds every morning, am so tired of being fatigued, but think it is maybe time to see a shrink. Anyone have any input? I sure could use it. I have no social life, but do have a man that loves me like no other & am getting married soon. I am truly one lucky woman.......

Sep 24th, 2011 10:31pm

I had a car accident when I was 34. I was paralyzed and in a coma for 30 days. I was not supposed to live. I do very well considering all the medications I have tried . I walked out of the hospital, (they said I'd never walk again) I still have alot of trouble. The weather seems to effect me severely. I cannot take temperatures above 75 degrees or so. I love the winter, but feel like s___ all summer. Anyone else like this. I stll have PCS and have lost my memory back to 10 or 11 years old. The hospital gave me an experimental drug for brain swelling and I say it worked. I do well most of the time....I have to wear shorts year round, not long sleeve shirts. Been that way since I woke up from the coma. Dont get me wrong, I am very grateful for how well I've done. They said I would never walk, I do very well, never be able to live alone, I do. I can drive only because I can tell when I'm having trouble, it always starts when I get up and I would never get in a car like that. Otherwise I dont go anywhere much, but I am grateful. '

Sep 14th, 2011 12:30am

My daughter suffers from a TBI...in Oct. 2010 she had a motorcycle wreck that left her with a sheared brain stem, frontal lobe, occipital lobe, cerebellum and small stroke in right hemisphere...needless to say the Dr.s never thought she would make it 8 hours...prayer, FAITH, hope, love and HARD work has shocked and awed many!! We are 9 months out and she can now walk holding my hand...the periphal vision they said she would never get back has improved drastically...her "10 second Tom" memory has now improved to a 12 hour memory! My advice is pray and have faith that what you ask for God will handle...the rehab centers we have been to told me I was going to have to except this was all she was going to be able to do...I didn't except it. She has also been visiting a Maximized Living Chiropractor who has been AMAZING!! Since these visits her balance is INCREDIBLE! Never give up HOPE! Our God is bigger than our problems! .

Jul 26th, 2011 12:47am

To the one who wrote on April 3, 2010. I am 31 and have epilepsy. I have had it since I was 8 years old. I have took medicine after medicine and still have seizures. I have also had brain surgeory which cleared most of my seizures up. My granny would say I would have them but she couldn't do anything about it. She would say my temperature was over 100, then I went for about 5 years and then started to have seizures from a medicine I was allergic to. I have had seizures ever since 1986. Doctors have changed my medicines about 4-5 times since was 8 years old. I have gone through school and still graduated with my class since all this happened. Even though I have graduated I am in this house just for people that are handicapped and have nerve problems. I feel that I could do something else and not feel retarted. I work with the seniors on two days of the week and the juniors 3 days. But I feel I have come quite a ways. The reason I say that, I graduated with the class I started with in 1982 even though I started to have seizures in 1986.

Jul 2nd, 2011 6:17am

last year i was hit by a car and i had a very bad brain injery, but i am now back at school and i am almost back to my old self i am a very storng girl

Mar 8th, 2011 2:11pm

thanks

Aug 31st, 2010 5:42am

Last month on july 29 I celebrated 19 years of recovery from a TBI to the front of my brain.Even now I have brand new problems that appear that were never there before.The most fun is the harassment I've recieved constantly from co-workers and management at my job.The wonderful United States Postal Service.I Guess no one ever explained respect and courtesy to them.

Aug 16th, 2010 11:26pm

I had a TBI at the age of four. I thought it was done and over with. Wrong! It is now, thirty-nine years later. I now have epilepsy, in my twenties, I started getting numbness in my right extremities, along with a great deal of weakness. Now my right leg turns in and I have to walk sideways down the stairs. My reflexes are very abnormal. I have encephalomalacia on the right side of my brain due to my head injury. By all medical accounts I should not have survived the fall. I had thirteen skull fractures according to my medical record and had to have burr holes drilled to relieve the pressure and because of internal bleeding. I have a very difficult time with memory and learning new things. It has been that way all of my life, that I can remember. I never did remember my mother or anyone in my family, I just was told they are my family. I also have a hard time with aphasia. But I know if it had not been for God,I would not be here today, he is the one who decided it was not my time. I accept things the way they are, at leas I live to fight another battle! Yes, I have depression, anxiety and do see a psychiatrist also. But I also know that having pity upon yourself is a waste of time ad energy. Just remember that you are alive and do not feel sorry for yourself, everyone has challenges and we all have more in this life, but we are alive and not deceased!

Apr 3rd, 2010 2:21pm

With emotions out of control, a TBI patient could have many run-ins with the law. Our son was lasered repeatedly, had to go to court, was fined and had to do community service. To this day, he only remembers being jumped by the plainsclothed police and fighting back as any soldier is trained to do. This is a real problem and it's imperative that some understanding of TBI be brought to light so our legal system and police do not judge these individuals as common criminals.

Mar 22nd, 2010 9:32pm

is it possible that i have this after a bad motorbike accident in 1983 when my head was run over by an hgv although my consultant surgeon said no way!! I have to work all the time, i feel very depressed unless ni work, please let me know there is someone else out there !!

Mar 18th, 2010 4:20pm

I am one of the 'deer in the headlights'. Emotional stress and/or at times the stress of daily life situations [including needed major renovations to our home and the mess we now have due to that] ... these things bring out the bi-polar depression, the memory problems, the speech [aphasia] problems, sometimes the physical problems [stroke-like symptoms of right-side weakness], etc.. Top that off with a recent dx of Generalized Inherited Early Sudden [Chronic] Onset Osteoarthritis [at age 53; now am 54]doesn't help matters either. Yes, I get through my daily life ... sometimes I have good days, sometimes they aren't the greatest. And sometimes I often wonder how I will get through a day. Add to that mix needing to find a second P/T job that I feel I could do on a daily basis [due to things becoming so expensive nowadays and not sure of getting from one pay to the next] without having a 'melt-down' either physically and/or mentally and you often wonder how to manage your day[s] without burning out from the TBI residue you now have to live with. Heaven help me too when I have anesthesia for even minor surgery! It takes months to get over the severe aphasia, etc.! I often wonder how people with major illnesses [ex: cancer] seem to get through them, yes with difficulties but still get through them, and it is so hard for me to get through a day. I feel guilty for feeling like I do when / getting to the point I do when there are those out there battling those worse things than what I have. Why is it so hard to deal with the problems of TBI when comparing it to cancer, etc.?

Mar 11th, 2010 1:33pm

The tendency for as many as 80 to 90% of TBI survivors to believe they have fully recovered does not make it true. As the first comment asks, What is a "good recovery?" Many consider a good recovery to be an ability to return to the same activities as before the TBI/MTBI. What they fail to consider is the evidence that shows that even those who appear to have returned to the same state and functional abilities as before the TBI/MTBI, thorough testing will demonstrate that they have residual damage from the TBI/MTBI. Athletes are the best example of this. Many appear to recover fully only to begin noticing problems years after the injury. The least symptom of incomplete recovery is the sensitivity to a second injury, be it a very mild concussion or more serious injury. The more serious issue is the risk of cognitive or memory impairment during times of physiological stress and for some, even simple emotional stress. There is a sleeping monster lying in wait in the injured brains of TBI survivors. It can raise up and strike out at very inopportune moments, such as when there is a risk of imminent danger or a need to make a life critical decision on a moment's notice. Beware the 'deer in the headlights' as this monster strikes out.

Jan 14th, 2010 4:11am

I feel recovery is directly correlated to attitude. My husband had made a tremendous recovery from a TBI in 1992. He will never be "back to normal" however, he has an amazing attitude and quality of life. Endurance training (Long distance running, road biking and triathalons) have made a huge improvement in his processing and physical disabilities. I am so proud of how hard he has worked at getting a "good life" because most of us don't even try to improve our lives.

Jan 13th, 2010 10:41pm

100% recovery may not be possible but we don't know if a person will get 65% of the way back or 99.9999% back. What's important is working hard and discovering all your post-TBI abilities. "Oh, my friend, it’s not what they [TBI] take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left." — Hubert Humphrey Dr. Mark / @gotbrain

Jan 13th, 2010 8:10pm

What is the definition of "a good recovery from TBI"? Does that mean 100% or less then that. Is there a 100% recovery for TBI ?

Jan 12th, 2010 4:59pm

this is a very good article I love number 9 and if you have a TBI you will definately recover in time,its hard work but you will recover. I know Im almost there

Jan 12th, 2010 4:44pm


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