Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a contributing factor to a substantial number of deaths and permanent disabilities each year. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, jolt or penetrating injury to the head. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” to “severe.”
There are an estimated 1.7 million TBI-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits occur in the U.S. each year. Nearly 80% of these individuals are treated and released from an emergency department. TBI is a contributing factor in one-third of all injury-related deaths in the United States, or about 52,000 deaths annually.
TBI injuries result form a number of causes. Falls are the leading cause of TBI, resulting in over 520,00 TBI-related emergency department visits and 62,000 hospitalizations each year. TBI rates are highest for children aged 0 to 4 years and for adults aged 75 years and older.
Motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of TBI-related deaths. Motor vehicle–traffic injury rates are highest for adults aged 20 to 24 years.
According to data collected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a 14.4% increase in TBI-related emergency department visits and a 19.5% increase in TBI-related hospitalizations between 2002 to 2006. Emergency department visits for fall-related TBI saw a dramatic increase between 2002 and 2006. There was a 62% increase in fall-related TBI injuries for children 14 years and younger, and a 46% increase for adults aged 65 and older; 46%. Hospitalization for fall-related TBI rose 34% while fall-related TBI deaths increased 27% from 2002 to 2006.
Direct medical costs and indirect costs of TBI, such as lost productivity, totaled an estimated $60 billion in the United States in 2000.
There are a few simple things everyone can do to reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury, including:
- Wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle;
- Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Wearing a helmet and making sure your children wear helmets when:
- Riding a bicycle, motor cycle, snowmobile, scooter, or ATV;
- Playing contact sports of any kind;
- Using in-line skates or a skateboard;
- Riding a horse;
- Skiing or snowboarding.
4. Make living areas safer for infants and seniors by:
- Removing tripping hazards such as throw rugs in walkways;
- Placing nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors;
- Installing grab bars in the tub or shower and next to the toilet;
- Installing handrails on both sides of stairways; and
- Improving lighting throughout the home.