Infographic: Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
In the U.S., an estimated 2.8 million people were treated for a traumatic brain injury in 2013.
Leading causes include falls, traffic accidents, assault, and being struck by or against an object — such as another person, a wall, or a falling object. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that were:
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in the United States. Over 1.3 million—almost half—of all brain injuries are the result of falls. Falls also account for a majority of TBIs among infants, children, and elderly adults.
At 430,000 brain injuries a year, being struck by or against an object is the second leading cause of TBI in the general population and account for 1 in 5 TBI-related injuries in children under 15 years old. These injuries are the result of being unintentionally struck by another person or an object — including falling debris or being struck against an object or person.
Among all age groups, motor vehicle crashes and traffic-related incidents are the third leading cause of TBI. Close to 200,000 brain injuries a year are the result of motor vehicle or traffic accidents, including those involving bicycles and trains. These injuries also result in the largest percentage (32 percent) of TBI related deaths.
Assaults caused 10 percent of TBIs in the general population. Only 2.9 percent of children between the ages of 0-14 and only 1 percent of adults aged 65 and older were injured in this way.
Unknown causes make up 217,000 (8 percent) of all TBIs. This category includes all brain injuries in which the emergency department report does not pinpoint the exact cause.
Over 190,000 (7 percent) of TBIs are categorized as “other.” “Other” includes any injury that does not fit into another category — such as injuries resulting from electrocution, explosions, fireworks, exposure to radiation, welding flash burn, or animal scratches.
Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides data on a wide range of TBIs occurring in this country, it is not currently possible to capture all cases of TBI. There is no estimate for the number of people with non-fatal TBI seen outside of a hospital emergency department or who receive no care at all.
CDC’s estimates of traumatic brain injury do not include injuries seen at U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Veterans Health Administration Hospitals. Learn more about military traumatic brain injury and blast injury in BrainLine’s Military & Veteran section.