The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1.7 million people suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) annually. TBI accounts for almost a third of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
What exactly is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and how does it occur?
A TBI is an injury to the brain that is caused by a bump, blow, jolt, or penetrating impact to the head that disrupts the brain’s normal function. Not all bumps, blows, or jolts to the head result in a TBI, but if the bump, blow, or jolt is severe enough, a TBI can result. TBIs range in severity from “mild” to “severe.” An example of a “mild” TBI would be a concussion. “Mild” cases of TBI account for approximately 75% of all TBIs treated. “Severe” TBIs result in periods of unconsciousness, amnesia, and even death.
TBIs are more prevalent in children, adolescents, and the elderly. They also are more likely to result in death for young children, ages 0-4 years, and the elderly, adults above 75 years. Children aged 0-14 years make up almost half a million (473,947) emergency room visits for TBI made annually. That is approximately 35% of the 1.365 million visits made to emergency departments a year.
It is not surprising that many TBIs occur in adolescents, ages 15-19 years, because many teenagers choose to play sports, either in school or recreationally. Contact sports are one of the leading causes of “mild” TBIs. Furthermore, in every age group, TBI rates were higher in males than females.
What causes TBI?
The leading causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle accidents, being struck by something, and assaults. Falls account for 35.2% of cases, being struck by something causes approximately 16.5% of TBIs, and Assault causes about 10% of TBIs treated. While the causes of 21% of treated TBIs are unknown, it is not surprising that 17.3% of all TBIs reported are the result of motor vehicle accidents. That is why it is important to always properly wear a seat belt and make sure your head rest is at the correct height.