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Brain Injury: The Silent Epidemic Latest Statistics

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. The magnitude of this silent epidemic that dramatically affects the lives and health of millions of Americans and their families is substantiated by the most recent report of the Center for Disease Control.

The most current statistics on Emergency Department  Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths for Traumatic Brain Injury In The United States will lend support to those calling for greater government attention to the needs of TBI survivors and their families. 


According to the CDC:  “This report provides detailed information about traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department (ED) visits in the United States for the years 1995 through 2001. The data can be used to address a wide range of important questions, such as how many TBIs occur each year in the United States, who is affected, and how these TBIs occur. This report is intended as a reference for policy makers, service providers, educators, researchers, advocates, and others interested in knowing more about the impact of TBI in the United States.”  The full report is available at the CDC website.

Some of the most significant information from this survey is:

Each year in the United States:

·        At least 1.4 million people sustain a TBI.  Of them, about 50,000 die, 230,000 are hospitalized, and 1.1 million are treated and released from the emergency department.

·        Approximately 475,000 TBIs occur among children ages 0 to 14 years; Emergency department visits account for more than 90% of the TBIs in this age group.

·        Adults age 75 years or older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death.

·        In almost every age group, TBI rates are higher for males than for females.

·        Motor vehicle-traffic causes result in the greatest number of TBI related hospitalizations.

·        Falls are the leading cause of TBI; rates are the highest for children ages 0 to 4 years  and for adults age 75 years or older.

We also know from the CDC study that an estimated 80,000 to 90,000 people with TBI. experience permanent disability from their injury each year.

Brain Injury Prevention, Treatment and Support Need To Be National Priorities

The CDC concludes that  “TBI prevention to reduce the incidence of TBIs, improved acute care and rehabilitation to reduce the likelihood of TBI related disability, and increased access to services for those who do not fully recover must continue to be national priorities.”

Hopefully this comprehensive study will increase public as well as government awareness of this invisible injury.  These alarming statistics clearly show the need for more resources to be directed to this serious public health problem.

In New York State, the Department of Health, Traumatic Brain Injury Surveillance Program, Bureau of Injury Prevention gathers discharge information related to traumatic brain injury.  The director of the program is Julie A. Eisele, PhD. 



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