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

9 1/2 Need-to-Know Things About Traumatic Brian Injury

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. Each year, 2.8 million people are treated for TBI in a U.S. emergency department.1 By the numbers, every American has more than a 1:160 chance of sustaining a traumatic brain injury each year.

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).1

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.1

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.

Posted on BrainLine December 30, 2017. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

1. Taylor CA, Bell JM, Breiding MJ, Xu L. Traumatic Brain Injury–Related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths — United States, 2007 and 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ 2017;66(No. SS-9):1–16. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6609a1

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.

Comments (70)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

I recently fell off step ladder on concrete & hit back of head on corner of brick area near door. Was bleeding but was able to crawl in house & drive self to ER.

Per head/neck scan said was ok & needed staples & tec shot. Now about 3 days, feel pressure front & back of head with a little pain. Suppose get staples removed on 8th day which is Monday, I will tell them. Pray don't get worse. I am concerned.

What a fantastic post!

After my TBI, my CT showed Encephalomalacia. How common is this and how many people have it?

Almost all of my 15 or so concussions were not in situations where one would wear a seatbelt or a helmet so I think that information isn't really accurate.
It would also be interesting to know why more males than females sustain concussions. Is it actually the case or do fewer females report the injuries. Perhaps it could be due to medical professionals not taking it seriously when a female does report tbi? It took two years for me to be taken seriously about the issues I was having and this mostly because I started bringing a friend or my Dad to appointments.

Men are twice as likely to work a job that can get them injured and put themselves at risk far more often. There’s a reason why women live longer.

I was 15 years old with a severe traumatic brain injury, now 15 years later why am I realizing aggression and anger with my emotional up and down mood swings

I know that I m not supposed to ask for medical or legal advice but my son Is n jail n they r wanting to send him to pin / what they said (the mental side) this to me is loss of what our country is about we failed my son before the accident he was one of three boys that never caused trouble n was all A & B's n school my youngest is a designer of blueprints that make machines my oldest works at Elite Trucking & Harley just graduate two weeks before he was injected from a high speed accident & it's a miracle he's alive but because he is like a child n a grown body he keep getting n trouble n long list of police officers that had come to our home but if I had help this wouldn't have happened n KY &TN both have failed us so I'm asking if anyone knows anyone that can help me with my son from going to prison

Call lawyer lew merrien he can help u out maybe if your from dfw area. I had bad car accident im going to hospital tomorrow hopefully cuz I know I need to my head doest feel so good I should go today but I'm sleepy so ima sleep now

I was struck on the left side of my head and neck at work and knocked to the ground, my boss and my union ( if metall ) do not believe that I was/am injured.

I was in an accident in August of this year and now have seizures. I known I have a TBI but my doctors are so stuck on "epileptic" and "non epileptic seizures" they've totally overlooked that I have a TBI. I'm on meds and they just minimize the seizures. Since my accident, I've had over 150 seizures and no answers from the doctors. Doctors now have little compassion. I cannot work, drive, cook, take a bath alone, be left alone due to the seizures. My hearts goes out to you all and I will keep you all in pray. Even with my circumstances if it's God's will I accept my seizures. Just want answers. God bless all

Take any paperwork/ etc and try a teaching hospital. Sometimes they dig deeper especially when have students/interns etc. Hopefully not going on a busy day. Yes. The moon does still scare some of us psychologically. It seems to bring out the weirdos. Especially in inner cities.
***Write things down to show/tell them. It’s easy to forget some little things that may be significant.***
Look them in the eye, smile a little smile of relief and tell them how glad they are there. Stay calm and focused - usually med professionals are used to being the all knowing all seeing etc. Sadly, some are arrogant.
(I’m a now retired ER RN from Oakland Ca, worked Va & DC prior as well as local ER’s per diem over the years. I’m sure lots has changed. For the better I assume)

my doctors here in sweden seem to think i am making this up - psychosomatic symptoms

Have you tried cbd oil? There are two types, make sure you look into the medicinal strain, it had been shown to help with seizures

You say that most people do make a good recovery from TBI. This may be so, but with reference to your comment that a blow to one part of the brain can cause damage throughout, can I say that head injuries can be devastating? Mine destroyed parts of my brain that knew how to walk and to talk. My eyesight is not great nor my hearing; my concentration is poor, as is my stamina. My balance, literally, is loopy! I will never recover because to do so is to be like the person I was, but he has gone. I will never be him again! Thankfully I do a pretty good job as the new me, but that's because I have to - I was not given a choice... More about my injury, my recovery, as well as hope and inspiration for yours can be found in my book, Flight of a Lifetime, at http://ow.ly/DKc3l :)

That last statement also caught my attention (#9 1/2). Of course, it is very vague. "most people" and "a brain injury."

I suppose it's true. 80% of brain injuries are minor treat and release from ER events.

I would say that nobody makes a full recovery from a severe brain injury. Some, yourself and myself included, can reach high levels of function for short periods of time (i.e. late mornings), but not most of the time on most days.

My I injury occurred in my twenties, now as I near sixty, I am struggling with greatly magnified age related decline, if for no other reason than I get tired sooner.

But all in all, the list is a good one.

I feel for all u beautiful people I got hit by a car whe I was 5 and they never checked my brain and as time passed I would get headaches for days and light bugs me people bug me I get Aggies easily I swore I was goraphbic or something crazy, I have 3 kidz who I don't want to see when the bad part comes up me the seizures I have been depressed since forever but I move on everyday forgetting bits and pieces of the past almost all the good parts are gone now it's just nightmares stuck inside my brain asleep and awake. Also I hear screams babies crying people whispering!!! I get freaked out sometimes wondering if there real

Aderal for my TBI (in a coma 5.5 weeks Glasgow √3) was very harmful!!!

I had a TMI when I was 9 months old, I am 33 now. After a traumatic car accident they discovered I have parietal lobe encephalomalacia I have no idea how long its been there. I have been on antidepressants for a good 10 yrs of my life, I feel like its just been a cover up for what is really going on because they never really helped. I cant focus and I am tired all the time. Its like a my eyes just need to rest for a good 10 or 30 minutes mid day. I have to lie down otherwise I have brain-fog that just wont go away making it so hard to focus and function. I look at other people who are able to focus and get their tasks completed and I wonder how they do it. It makes me feel depressed. It feels like trying to focus when your just so tired you cant even think straight. That's how I feel on a normal basis even if I just woke up 2hrs ago. It has gotten worse over the last few years because the brain-fog wasn't as often during the day and these headaches that just feel so strange. They feel like a migraine but its more like my head as an electrical panel and its firing signals around my whole head. They can last for days, most times taking a potassium and bromelin supplement helps, not any NSAIDS. 

My psychiatrist finally gave me adderall which helps so much. I still get the brain-fog but its not as bad. I am only taking 30mg a day. I still have bad days but overall I can actually think and do. There isn't a cure for encephalomalacia and many would actually not understand. I can imagine most people just saying I'm tired all the time too. Its not something a cup of coffee can change, if anything caffeine can make it worse. I am pretty successful in my life, I am motivated to want better for myself. Whatever I focus on, I can complete though I usually am missing something. Adderall helped me a lot. I am not a med pusher and honestly I know its not good for you but neither is feeling like your mind is too tired to do anything ALL THE TIME. Its not depression, depression can be secondary but its not the primary source of this particular problem. You have to want to feel better too and your still going to have bad days. 

I was recently Dx with encephalomalacia.
I had consistent beatings to the head as a child. I’ve often seriously wondered that if someone does this to a child- how much of the sequela may be from our newborn/ early babyhood days as well?
At least know I understand my lack of memorization skills amongst other things.

Definitely beatings to the head can give you encephalamacia. Boxers and foitball players also get it.
CTE is what happens / progresses to. Do some reading up on it when you can.
Google : "causes of encephalomalacia" ....
There is no cure for encephalamacia either yet. It's also hard to find Drs and even the SSA ( to get SSI / SSDI ) that take head injuries seriously. I've had head injuries since 10 yrs old and ADHD / bipolar 2, hypothyroidism .

To the person that has tbi since the age of 13. Have you tried adderal. My husband has 40% of his front lobes are dead. He was a couch potato. Watched TV, slept and that was it. His Psych gave him 60 mg of Adderal and brought him back to wanting to do things. I was completely surprised because I thought he would be on that couch forever.

Hi I am also TBI survivor...what's your husband age now ?

I got a TBI at the age of 5 and again at the age of 13. I was diagnosed with Encephalomalacia with Gliosis at the age of 38. I am now 40. I live as a 'shell' also, and my parents just don't understand. They get angry with me for being a burden. Tell me to get a job, and although I try desperately, the employers know there just isn't something right with me and turn me down. As far as no motivation, its the neurons we are talking about here, they are dying or have died, medications just make me tired and gain weight, both cons. I spend my life trying to please people. Life is miserable and I have been deserted of all my friends as well. Lonely, bored, miserable, and crippled on the inside. Don't judge shoes you never walked in. This is one pair I wish I could return and had never tried on.👠

I think it’s a grounding problem afterward. Pity the people we love the most. Our rudder’s off.

I know. Then we always have look like malingerers but just not enough mental or physical energy to compete.
Just want to get out of everybody’s way.

My son was in a MVA just before the start of his senior year of high school.  He was in a coma but came out of it.  Over 40% of his brain is now scar tissue including both front lobes.  It is now 8 years later and he is functioning but as a shell.  He is easily manipulated by others and lost all of his former friends.  He basically exists.  Trying to motivate him or reason with him can sometimes be impossible.  The one characteristic he still has is his love and kindness. It is sad that we haven't come further with treatment or therapy.  I cannot find anyone in my area willing to take on his complicated case.

My heart goes out to you. My son was in a Tobago accident when he was 10 now 17. He now has lessons and refuses to go for medical treatment. I have been trying for over 2 years and the only response I get is he is getting worse. He doesn't go to school, work or anything. He is very abusive verbally to me almost on a daily basis. I have no support from family and or friends. Not sure what the future holds but it is draining on me. Because of his age they say it is his choice. Unbelievable. Prayers and hugs sent to you

Anxiety and depression I struggle with every day = get so tired and emotional with out bursts of built up anger and panic attacks = some days can be good and some days very hard = cant handle stress or do my old job of which i studied for 4 years and worked for 20 = now at a job that I have been at for 5 years with a pay rise of 50 cents to make it $15 an hour = struggle to make ends meet as only work 6 hrs a day as beyond that I get to tied = have no dreams or hopes anymore as i feel so useless = can get easily confused = when tired or stressed my words start to come out all wrong and I start to stutter = would not wish a brain injury on anyone

I am currently at Greenville Memorial with my partner of 21 years, Father of Two of my children. Today is Sunday 9/27/ 2015 and we have been here now for a week and he has severe Brain Damage. I have never been so confused in my life so can anyone help me?

Sept 16th,the year 2000 changed my life forever,counting my blessings my 2 daughters had no long term injuries, I was in a coma a month in the hospital 3 months had out patient rehabilitation to walk & talk again, so thankful for my family & friends and the many prayers!I'm so thankful to be alive, has been a journey.

Valuable information. Fortunate me I discovered your web site by chance, and I am surprised why this coincidence didn't happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

JULY 20, 2008; I'm 36 now. It ruined my life and any future plans. So often do I wish I wouldn't have survived. Life is too hard

I suffered my TBI on September 25, 1993 when I was 31 years old.  I was struck by a police car while I was on a sidewalk.  I've discovered that I have to take 300mg of Effexor and 40mg of Adderall everyday or my depression will consume me.  I also find myself getting kicked out of lounges all the time.  I've discovered that it's because  my mind will wander and it looks like I'm starring at people, it must upsetting  I was thinking of getting a medic alert bracelet to warn people but I don't like wearing jewelry. 

My mom got an heart attack a few years ago , she got to less oxygen and she got brian damage. She was in n coma for about 3 months but when she got out she was like a 6 year old child. Is it possible to recover from brian damage ?

This is def a mind opener. I sustained a concussion at 14 and was knocked out in a car accident then also 7 months later another accident where I hit the windshield at 130 pH impact car collision speed...I did not pass out then but def had stitches. I can relate to the emotional control issue at times and headaches....back aches and spine issues....thinking we'll my adhd got worse sitting for an exam is like Chinese without medication. Thanks so much

Its going on 30yrs for my Brain Injury. I'm learning how walk again & I'm having trouble with anxiety and depression. The therapists are saying I'm doing well but it's not fast enough, and that makes me sad!

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!!

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

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.

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..

Problems with counting, reading comprehension, and organization are debilitating

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

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.

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.

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.

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
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
For support there is now a site called trymunity.com
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.
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.