Facts About Traumatic Brain Injury

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Facts About Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. TBIs contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths.1 Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI.1 Those who survive a TBI can face effects that last a few days, or the rest of their lives. Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression).  These issues not only affect individuals but can have lasting effects on families and communities.

What is a TBI?

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury). Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.2

How big is the problem?

  • In 2013,1 about 2.8 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in the United States.
    • TBI contributed to the deaths of nearly 50,000 people.
    • TBI was a diagnosis in more than 282,000 hospitalizations and 2.5 million ED visits.  These consisted of TBI alone or TBI in combination with other injuries.
  • Over the span of six years (2007–2013), while rates of TBI-related ED visits increased by 47%, hospitalization rates decreased by 2.5% and death rates decreased by 5%.
  • In 2012, an estimated 329,290 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in U.S. EDs for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI.3
    • From 2001 to 2012, the rate of ED visits for sports and recreation-related injuries with a diagnosis of concussion or TBI, alone or in combination with other injuries, more than doubled among children (age 19 or younger).3

What are the leading causes of TBI?

  • In 2013,1 falls were the leading cause of TBI. Falls accounted for 47% of all TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States. Falls disproportionately affect the youngest and oldest age groups:
    • More than half (54%) of TBI-related ED visits hospitalizations, and deaths among children 0 to 14 years were caused by falls.
    • Nearly 4 in 5 (79%) TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in adults aged 65 and older were caused by falls.
  • Being struck by or against an object was the second leading cause of TBI, accounting for about 15% of TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States in 2013.
    • Over 1 in 5 (22%) TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in children less than 15 years of age were caused by being struck by or against an object.
  • Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes were the third overall leading cause of TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths (14%). When looking at just TBI-related deaths, motor vehicle crashes were the third leading cause (19%) in 2013.
  • Intentional self-harm was the second leading cause of TBI-related deaths (33%) in 2013.

Risk factors for TBI

Among TBI-related deaths in 2013:1

  • Rates were highest for persons 75 years of age and older.
  • The leading cause of TBI-related death varied by age.
    • Falls were the leading cause of death for persons 65 years of age or older.
    • Intentional self-harm was the leading cause of death for persons 25-64 years of age.
    • Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death for persons 5-24 years of age.
    • Assaults were the leading cause of death for children ages 0-4 years.

Among non-fatal TBI-related injuries in 2013:1

  • Hospitalization rates were highest among persons 75 years of age and older.
  • Rates of ED visits were highest for persons 75 years of age and older and children 0-4 years of age.
  • Falls were the leading cause of TBI-related ED visits for all but one age group.
    • Being struck by or against an object was the leading cause of TBI-related ED visits for persons 15 to 24 years of age.
  • The leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations varied by age:
    • Falls were the leading cause among children 0-14 years of age and adults 45 years of age and older.
    • Motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of hospitalizations for adolescents and persons 15-44 years of age.

References

  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. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: steps to prevent a serious public health problem. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003.
  3. Coronado VG, Haileyesus T, Cheng TA, Bell JM, Haarbauer-Krupa J, Lionbarger MR, Flores-Herrera J, McGuire LC, Gilchrist J. Trends in sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries treated in US emergency departments: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) 2001-2012. J Head Trauma Rehabil 2015; 30 (3): 185–197.
Posted on BrainLine April 27, 2017. Reviewed July 26, 2018.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov.

Comments (77)

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.

On April 30, 2015, my grandson was in a car accident. Law enforcement believes he were ejected from the vehicle at highway speed or approximately 70 to 75mph.  He has what the neurosurgeon termed a severe brain injury, bleeding in the stem and at least one lobe, but would you believe no broken bones. He's been in a come since; how much is sedative induced versus brain injury is uncertain. At this time, we're hoping for the best while understanding he may be way worse than we hope when he finally comes around. We can see 'signs' of mobility meaning he has reflexes working in his favor, whether or not his brain will be able to make the connection for him to controllably move his extremities could be a whole different story when he is comes around. The hospital staff has been wonderful and keeps us as up to date as possible on his situation. The PICU doc and neurosurgeon have advised us while there's hope, he will have along road of rehab/recovery ahead of him, but he's doing better than expected a this point.  What to think of that, I don't know.  At any rate, your stories have made me feel a whole lot better just knowing people can rehab & recover from some brain injuries or have at least been able to keep them controllable.  I'll be bookmarking this page so I can find you all whenever I need a little help coping. You're all awesome.  Keep sharing your stories of success.  You have no idea how much you've helped this grandma regain her hope. Thank you so much.  

I also acquired Hydrocephalus from a Traumatic Brain Injury and have had 30 Brain operations so far in the ten years since I was first diagnosed. I hope and pray that is it but I know there are more operations in the future for me.

My traumatic brain injury involves hydrocephalus and multiple shunt surgeries. I haven't seen any stories about brain injury do to medical problems or illness. I had meningitis and it developed into hydrocephalus . The doctors called it TBI for me due to my multiple brain surgeries to correct my hydrocephalus . When you look at an X-ray of my head you see this White knife like shape into the middle of my brain then a tube running down from the shunt to my stomach. I have severe memory problems and headaches , and emotional problems . I'm unable to drive now because if my slowed reaction time. I don't know if I'll need anymore brain surgeries . Anyway that's my story .

Your definition of "serious" brain injury included amnesia. That makes sense to me, but does not fit my experience with the diagnosis of "mild" traumatic brain injury that I was given. I was "technically" unconscious for 40 minutes, but because the person who hit me delayed reporting the accident for 20 minutes, and then told police the accident had "just happened," the ER personnel were told I had been unconscious for 20 minutes. Since my recollection begins the next morning, I question whether I was ever conscious that night, and since the accident, my event memories (as opposed to memory for facts, which seems unaffected) is very limited. I do not remember details of my day by the end of the day, and after approximately two weeks, my recollections are limited to whatever I wrote in my journal. My journal has become my "memory" of events since my accident.

Despite the on-going memory problems and ever-increasing focusing difficulties, and despite a golf-ball sized 1/4-inch deep dent in my skull 2 inches above my left ear, and slightly behind it, my medical reports still show I had a "mild" TBI, and my current diagnosis is post-concussive syndrome. I spoke with the police who had been at the accident, and they did not expect me to survive, based on the amount of blood on the pavement. How is it possible that I was diagnosed with a "mild" TBI? (a rhetorical question)

God Bless!

Family members and strangers alike are often unaware of what is happening with the TBI patient. If there are no obvious signs of the injury, people can be ruthless and unforgiving of the inability the person has. There is a lot of joking and making fun of people who can't perform how they used to and if they behave somehow inappropriate there is not much tolerance for it. For an adult with TBI, it is like a double injury being treated like a child along with the inability to do what they could before. There needs to be more education to the public about what happens to the brain injured.

I am a true survivor of a TBI. 26 yrs ago I fell from a horse and woke up 3 weeks later. There has been alot of fallout from the emotional/mood changes ie..a 20 yr marriage, a 17 yr job however with a the strong support from medical, faith, family & friends live goes on. I didn't give up, don't believe in a can't attitude. Help is out there if you really want it. NEVER GIVE UP.

Veterans, the military hospitals and medical centers are doing much better with TBI/ABI across the board, as well as the PTSD issue.  They seem to deal with more brain injuries than any other large entity that I know of, so we vets can tap into that source, if the drive isn't too far away.  Good luck and have a blessed night y'all.

I can relate to you all, I've had TBI related injuries 10+ years due to work injuries.  I'm taking a supplement to help my brain "come back," but have angry spurts.  Does anyone else have them as you heal?  It's embarrassing and humiliating.  I also learned at a workshop that TBI is acquired in youth, and ABI is acquired in adulthood, which mine was.  The 2 are treated differently, as they require different types of programs due to differences in children's and adults' brains.  Most folks don't know that, so won't recognize ABI year training program in S CA for regaining all we lost, though. 

The best program I know of is called the ABI Program, available in S CA.   I plan to be in it this summer.  It's extensive, and trains folks in ALL our areas of our deficits.  It's Mon-thurs mornings for 2 years.  Their centers are in Covina and Newport Beach, and new classes start every 2 months.  If interested, contact Celeste Ryan, Instructor/Cooordinator at 714-241-6214 for details.  You need to prove your TBI/ABI though.  Good luck and God bless you all, it's a tough road indeed!

My mother has had three fall each of them hitting either their side of her head on(1)on the back of her head. All of these were due to imbalance. Prior to the past three falls in the 2months she had fallen from getting out of bed too quickly,resulting in a fractured hip. She is 88 years old but has her "wits" and is very coherent. Only recently she has been put on meclazine for vertigo 12.5 mg tid Prescribed by a neurologist. This mg did not work. She also has what seems to be as a slight migraine. Primary doctor told her to take Tylenol for the headache,which he considered it to be the safest drug to take that can be tolerated due to her other medications,mainly cardizam atenolol diovan prodaxa. She was told to increase her meclazone to 25mg tid. On her first dosage of 25 mg of me calzone 25 mg she got ENEN more dizzy and her bp(which is normally high (diagnosed years ago for hypertension ) taking 160 mg if diovan. Her bp was kept in a good range taking this amount. But since her past three falls(one of which caused a triple bleed to her head,yet she had three ct scans showing improvement) at that time after her first really bad fall she reported dizziness and headaches however the past two "minor"??? Falls , she fell and hit the back of her head and another hitting her on the opposite side of her head with major bruising (but she was not on her prodaxa at this time ) now her bp is on the low side approximately 106/62,which is remarkable since she has always had hypertension. I'm confused and being her care taker don't know what to do if anything. She sleeps a lot in fact has had over 15 hours(and counting) of sleep this far since last night till now) Any guidance would be helpful she had been in the hospital and rehab and has been home with my husband and myself now for at least three weeks. This is where she had her past two falls as described hitting her head. One thing to mention is that i administrated her .5mg Xanax yesterday trying to help alleviate any stress related problems that may have been causing her headaches. Upon awakening for dinner last night after the Tylenol and Xanax (prescribed prn) she did not feel as dizzy and again ate two good meals one for lunch and another for dinner. My concerns are her drop in bp and sleeping so long ANY ADVISE

My 12 year old jumped from a moving train on August 26, 2010. He was diagonsed with a severe TBI. Our days and months after the accident were long. What kept me from going crazy was my Faith. Believe it or not it does get better. It will be a long journey but God is with you. My son now is back to school in the 10th grade. I thank God every day for letting him be with us. My prayers go out to you and your family. Stay strong.

My 19 year old son was ejected from a motor vehicle crash and sustained fractured skull, severed artery to his brain, facial fractures, 2 brain bleeds deep in his brain, plus numerous other injuries, this just occurred on 10/09/2013, this is fresh and a whole new scarey LIFE however we are blessed he is alive and I just have got to say thank.God I found this website!!! Your kinda tossed around when u have no health insurance, but I'm grateful still... just thank you all so far your posts and comments are easing a bit of our worries...

I would just like to let you know that i am 39 and was in a bad accident when I was 31, where my vehicle was t-boned at 40mph and it flipped 3 times. By the Grace of God I was ejected a couple hundred feet from my van and was flown by flight for life to Froedert. I flatlined 3 times while they operated on my brain and was i a coma for almost a month. My loved ones prayers and family of believers interceeded for me when the doctors were telling my family to make preparations to bury me.....but God! This has been a long process, but I am healed, granted I still have problems with some memory. I just went back to college after 20 years and I got a 4.0 my first semester back. I have experienced the power of prayer and power of Gods healing hands on my body and my spirit. Tell your son to never give up hope, because if I can do it so can he, and God is more than able. God bless your family. I am on facebook as Jkingdomman if he ever wants to talk or u need information

I had a major head and back injury 15 years ago. It happened at work yet the insurance company fought me all the way. I partially recovered for a while but growing symptoms like insomnia and cognitive difficulties have led to me losing my job and family. So now I must recover from a mental breakdown due to losing everything and not being able hold the same job because of age-physical ability. I seem to be able to find some resources for getting medication and support groups and even doctors yet there is a common piece of recovery missing. Shelter. It seems all the resources one needs are out there, food, clothing, but no shelter. No safe environment for one to work their way out of a situation and be rehabilitated. This lack of shelter situation makes the other resources useless. No progress can be made. Most family members cannot understand mental illness and have deep fear and stigma toward it. This leads us to the streets or a jail. Where we become criminals recovery becomes virtually impossible.
Not in every way, but in many ways I'm a "better" person now, and I seem smarter....but in a couple areas I'm much more, or almost completely naive. I was wondering if something like this has happened to very many others? And has anyone figured out a more accurate and acceptible, understandable, less offensive way of explaining to people that "I have a TBI, and I'm retarded" or I say "I'm spethal"
thanks a lot, when did you put this website up
9-7-07, I was rear-ended while on a Kawaski Ninja that I dont recall owning. With my sixth birthday/literal divine integration coming in less than a week, I am completely independent. Not so bad for a "permanent vegetative state". I will be learning Biblical Hebrew, not only to enrich my soul with the direct relations of my "homeboy". I dont know who might comment, however its worth a shot to meet someone like myself. So, LA CHAIM!!!!
I appreciate your posting here - I work with multiple populations as well as TBI survivors. I am a Hospital Liaison for a Mental Health Agency and my biggest issue with TBI persons is finding appropriate placement options. These folks don't always have family or friends that they can reside with. A lot of TBI persons, especially if they have other mental health issues are likely to remain in psychiatric hospitals because there are no placement options available that will provide a structured supervised living environment for them. There are several folks that require 24 hour supervision and with the TBI Waiver requirements in effect presently - they also have to meet a PAS-2000 (Nursing Home Pass) in order to qualify for this Financial Assistance. Unfortunately, if your body is in good working condition - you don't qualify - even if your TBI is severe. I have written my states Legislative committee and have individually contacted several committee members with this issue. the best response I received was "We'll look into this issue and get back with you." This is NOT the response I was really looking for. I would appreciate Legislation to actually investigate the REAL issues with this population: 1) Lack of Community Support Services; 2) Lack of adequate Supportive Housing options for Homeless TBI survivors; 3) Redesign of the TBI Waiver program from excluding a severe TBI person because their body is "too healthy" to receive this benefit; and 4) Financial Assistance for TBI persons needing other Community Mental Health Services.
I specialize in TBI case research and summarization of medical information for trial. I feel like the part that no one talks about is that the stats are pretty favorable that the patient will develop future conditions from the accident that happened 20 years ago. I try to keep current on research as they do so much in other countries in terms of trying to repair affected areas of the brain with medication and other intervention and wonder why the US doesn't. If you are a Plaintiff in litigation, be your own best advocate and give the statistics to your attorney so they will make sure you have a settlement that provides for reasonably anticipated future medical care. Of course, no one knows who could develop what but there is a good argument that you will deal with new symptoms or illnesses in your lifetime if you have suffered a TBI. I have personally watched someone I cared about suffer from seizures, stroke-like episodes and episodes of confusion that include non relation of time and place, he suffered a TBI as a result of a motorcycle accident many years ago. His way of dealing with it was withdrawing from the world and most people. I wonder how many people there are like him who have no idea. For the cases that involve litigation, there needs to be a much bigger focus on future medical care.
"What causes TBI? The leading causes of TBI are: Falls (35.2%); Motor vehicle-traffic crashes (17.3%)" Silver, McAllister, and Yudofski in their book by 2005 have named Motor vehicles crashes as the first, and Falls as the second causes of TBI. Sarah, Psychology student, Iran
I received a pretty bad head injury when I was in Junior High and was in and out of consciousness for almost 20 minutes. When I returned to school I had a bad head ache and very little memory loss other than the incident and the time I arrived at the doctors office. Then I joined the military and I received several small head injuries while I was in the Service but none were of much concern to me.However, I did notice problems with headaches and worsening memory loss or an inability to recall events as clearly and with detail as I was able to when I was younger. When I retired from the service I had another severe head injury which left me walking around unconscious for several minutes (as I was told) and no memory of who I spoke to or what I said. Since then I have had severe headaches and increasing problems with my memory. I have a hard time concentrating or studying even-though I have been told I was normal. If this is normal it really sucks. How can I receive an assessment for brain injury? The only income I have is disability and a small retirement pension from the military, my insurance is Medicare and I am struggling in college classes. After I retired
thank you for the helpful information. :D RAINBOWS RULE SAVE THE EARTH RECYCLE
I would like to cite many of|your informational sources as reference points on my Mesa College Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) website. These are very good informational sources.
ThAnk U sO mUcH 4 yOuR hElP
"TBI" Camps are needed to assist veterans and their families and help to restore self-confidence and a "can do" attitude. As a "TBI" recipient, I can attest to the 30-40 years that it took to restore my "can do" attitude on my own. I'm sure that our Nation's Wounded Warriors deserve much more. You can help by helping to create awareness and acceptance of the "TBI" enabled veteran (who fought and sacrificed to protect your rights and freedoms) by society - especially by the employer community.
thank you so much for posting this!!!!
Great traumatic brain injury facts and statistics. It really does impact a lot of people!

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