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:

  • 1,320,411 fall-related TBIs
  • 430,836 struck by/against events
  • 383,293 motor vehicle/traffic related TBIs
  • 255,112 assault/self-harm related TBIs
  • 217,141 unknown causes
  • 190,959 injuries classified as “other “

A printable version of this infographic is available here.


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.

Struck By / Against

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.

Motor Vehicle & Traffic Incidents

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.

Other & Unknown

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.

Source: CDC

Posted on BrainLine July 10, 2017.

Comments (10)

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.

How would u feel if you found outthat you had had a TBI by reading your CT scan results.would you be upset? I am livid now. That i know from school

I don’t know where you live but in the USA we have ‘sleep clinics’ in some areas. They monitor your sleep overnight in the clinic and can make assessments of problems that may be hindering proper sleep.
My soft palate was removed after the sleep clinic noted I had a ‘floppy palate’ that was hindering proper sleep.
No problem since.

It appears we all understand what is being said. Since this is a kindly, helpful, polite place to ‘talk’ to others I probably wouldn’t include pettiness for this venue.

"Struck by" does not include vehicles, this is from the slide.

"These injuries are the result of being unintentionally struck by another person or an object — including falling debris"

I experienced TBI after a serious car accident when the driver hit me by running a red light at 40 miles an hour. I was in natural comma for a day and they had to induce comma for over 4 weeks. Thank God I am alive and am not disabled. The only problem I with my natural sleep cycle. I do and can sleep well over 7 hours but it's never enough and as soon as I wake up I want to go back to deep sleep which is never possible. I have been an extraordinary person through out my life. Me an my wife three smart children with God's help. Does anyone a tip for me to gain back my natural sleep.?

9% can be those of us who were in immediate concussive areas of landmines more than once

It is like "Murphy's Law", that I fall into the small 9%!

Maybe you should have read the slide on "struck by". It me means being struck by or against an object.

I think they mean just being hit in the head by something, someone or anything.
What in the world is a "struck by" TBI? Does it man struck by a car? If so, that is a traffic incident.