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.
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- Centers for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/BlueBook_factsheet-a.pdf
- 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.
- Cifu, David, MD. eMedicine.com. www.emedicine.com/sports/TOPIC113.HTM.