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Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics

resources-for-traumatic-brain-injury-tbi-victims Recent traumatic brain injury statistics show a significant increase in emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and death among all age groups. Were you injured in a sporting activity, motor vehicle crash, or assault that left you with a TBI (traumatic brain injury)?

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represent adults and children suffering concussions, contusions, hematomas, and traumatic brain injuries caused by the negligence of others.

Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) to schedule a free consultation and discuss your compensation case.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the leading cause of disability and death among adults and children between one year and forty-four years of age. The most effective population suffering from TBIs are children and seniors who fall.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), approximately 2.8 million people acquire a TBI every year. Out of this number, nearly 56,000 children and adults die from their injuries, and another 80,000 have a permanent disability.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) disrupt the brain's normal function due to a jolt, bumper, or blow to the head. Many TBI's occur by violently or suddenly striking an object or having the object that pierces the skull, entering the brain.

Abnormal brain function might include:

  • Decreased or loss of consciousness
  • Memory loss when trying to remember the traumatic event) amnesia)
  • Changes in speech, vision loss, muscle weakness, or other focal neurological deficit
  • Difficulty concentrating, slow thinking, disorientation, or other mental state alteration

Victims of a TBI-related injury can suffer mild, moderate, or severe trauma based on the extent of brain damage. A mild traumatic brain injury might involve a slight alteration of consciousness or mental state.

Alternatively, a severe traumatic brain injury could involve extended coma, unconsciousness, or death.

Acquired Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Statistics

Statistics released by the US Health and Human Services Department and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reveal that:

  • Self-harm is a leading cause of most TBI-related deaths, typically by motor vehicle accidents, falls, and suicide.
  • Currently, approximately 13.5 million Americans are living with the disability caused by an acquired brain trauma
  • Over the last decade, the number of traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths increased by more than 50%.
  • In 2019, an average of 150 individuals in America died every day from a TBI-related injury.
  • Over six times more individuals are disabled by traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year than breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries combined.
  • For decades, the rate of TBI-related emergency room visits for recreation and sports injuries involving diagnosed TBIs and concussions has risen over 50% in the younger population (20 years old and younger).
  • The CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that 75% of the 2.87 million traumatic brain injuries in the United States were diagnosed with a concussion
  • Over 5 million people with a brain injury in the United States currently require lifelong or long-term assistance with their activities of daily living because of a traumatic brain injury.
  • Doctors diagnose over 300,000 sports and recreation-related questions every year.
  • The number of TBI-related emergency department visits has nearly doubled in the last decade.
  • The number of diagnosed TBI mild traumatic brain injury cases is likely seven times less than all cases that have gone undiagnosed.
  • For decades, falls continue to be the leading cause of TBI (traumatic brain injuries), accounting for nearly 50% of all TBIs in America that involved an emergency room visit, hospitalization, and death.
  • Young children, teenagers, and elderly seniors are disproportionately more likely to acquire a traumatic brain injury from falling than all other age groups.
  • Physical assaults account for approximately 10% of all severe to mild traumatic brain injury cases.
  • Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of TBI-related deaths for children and young adults between 5 and 24 years of age.
  • Males are 50% more likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury than females and three times more likely to die from the trauma.
  • Every season, the average high school football player suffers traumatic brain injuries equivalent to an auto accident at 25 mph.
  • Americans paid an estimated $88 billion every year for direct medical expenses and indirect costs associated with severe to mild traumatic brain injury cases.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Leading Statistics, Causes and Risk Factors

According to the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, over 2.5 million individuals sustain a TBI (traumatic brain injury) every year. A brain injury can occur to anyone for numerous reasons. CDC statistics for 2019 reveal that falling is the leading cause of TBI in America. Other contributing risk factors include:

  • Falling 41.1%
  • Motor vehicle crash 14.4%
  • Struck by or against an object 15.2%
  • Assault 10.9%
  • Unknown 8.4%
  • Other 10%

The CDC also released additional data on TBI-related emergency department visits between 2010 and 2018, where 60% of all patients with a TBI were inflicted by intentional self-harm.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

On average, victims of traumatic brain injuries can display typical symptoms that could include:

  • Vomiting and headaches
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Dilated pupils
  • Breathing problems
  • Balance concerns
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry vision or seeing double
  • Visual changes, including eye movement loss, intolerance to bright lights, or blindness
  • Slow pulse
  • Cognitive challenges
  • Slow breathing
  • Personality changes
  • Increasing blood pressure
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Speech challenges, including understanding coherent words
  • Slurred speech
  • Tingling and numbness sensations
  • Facial weakness
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

Typical Traumatic Brain Injury Types

Many victims with traumatic brain injury will develop "mass lesions" involving a localized injury area. The damage could include contusions and hematomas, increasing brain pressure.

Common TBI types and statistics include:

Hematoma – Trauma to the head can result in a brain blood clot (hematoma) or inside the skull. The trauma can cause a collection of blood (epidural hematoma), affecting the brain's protective covering (dura mater) or inside the skull. The trauma could cause a subdermal hematoma, where the blood collects in the area between the brain's surface (arachnoid layer) and the dura mater.

Contusion – Doctors might diagnose a patient's cerebral contusion, where the brain tissue bruises. The injury swells the brain with blood leaking from capillaries, veins, or arteries. Statistically, most contusions occur at the brain's front part from direct force to the forehead.

Intracerebral hemorrhage – Bleeding brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH)) is often the result of a contusion or other brain injury. Surgical opportunities might be available to remove the intracerebral hemorrhage based on its location and size.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage – Bleeding in the brain's subarachnoid area can lead to a SAH (subarachnoid hemorrhage) when diffuse blood spreads over the surface of the brain. This damage is usually the result of a TBI, with the potential of developing hydrocephalus (a buildup of brain ventricle fluid).

Diffuse Injuries – A traumatic brain injury could result in a microscopic change undetectable on a CT (computed tomography) scan. Typically, the damage is scattered throughout the brain and could be associated with a mass lesion.

Diffuse axonal injury – a traumatic brain injury can result in gradual loss of axons and impaired brain function when the nerve cell extensions lose communication with each other. Diffuse axonal injuries often leave the traumatized individual with severe disabilities and brain impairments.

Ischemia – Brain damage leading to an insufficient blood supply (ischemia) can adversely affect the patient's function. Statistically, many victims of traumatic brain injuries will have restricted blood flow or deficient levels.

Skull fracture – A traumatic brain injury could result in a cracked skull or linear skull fracture. Any force that results in a TBI may lead to a skull fracture, damaging the brain's underlying tissue. Any fracture occurring at the skull base could lead to other injuries to the arteries or nerves. A fracture extending into the sinuses could lead to CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leakage from the ears or nose.

Older Adults Falling Statistics

More older Americans die from TBIs caused by falling than any other statistic. Data shows that older Americans share 64 traumatic brain injury related-deaths per 100,000 rate, which has grown significantly (30%) from 2009.

According to STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries), over 36 million falls and 8 million injuries were reported in 2018 involving older adults in the United States. This number is expected to grow to over 52 million falls and 12 million head injuries by 2030 as the elderly population continues to grow.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics show that the fall rates are significantly higher in adults 65 and older and varying states and the District of Columbia. The fall rate by state in 2018, increasing the potential risk of TBIs, include:

  • Illinois, California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Alabama at the lowest fall-related death rate of 28-53 per 100,000
  • Nevada, Texas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania had a fall-related death rate of 54-68 per 100,000
  • Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia, and Massachusetts had a fall-related death rate of 69-87 per 100,000
  • Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have the highest fall-related death rate of 88-105 per 100,000

The traumatic brain injury-related death rate and hospital rate were highest among individuals who are 75 years of age and older.

Traumatic Brain Injury Survival Rate Statistics

  • Observational research involving enlarging intracranial hemorrhages affects up to 42% of all individuals with a traumatic brain injury. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), overall mortality rates among children and adults range between 76% and 89% if the severe trauma to the brain causes a deep coma and low Glasgow Coma Scale score.
  • Severe traumatic brain injury victims typically experienced permanent severe disabilities or disorders of consciousness. Other statistics included:
  • Traumatic isolated blunt head injury has a 76.5% mortality rate
  • Traumatic blunt and penetrating trauma has a 92% fatality rate in children up to fourteen years old, a 76% fatality rate in victims up to 55 years of age, and 89% mortality rate and victims up to 82 years of age
  • Closed head traumatic injury has a 24% overall mortality rate

TBI Five Year Prognosis and Long Term Negative Effects

Most traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed in emergency departments nationwide. The victims' initial emergency room visits, hospitalization, and rehabilitation/therapies can provide ongoing care necessary to make necessary adjustments for daily living.

Capping with the best care, people with TBIs including severe hematomas and concussions will have an altar life experience and develop other chronic conditions that cause a significant health decline over time. Researchers will evaluate a patient's five-year prognosis to determine if their traumatic brain injury-related medical problems shorten their life expectancy or improve their outcome.

According to the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System (TBIMS) National Database, the five-year prognosis of individuals with a traumatic brain injury include:

  • Approximately 22% of TBI patients died within the first five years after the traumatic event.
  • Nearly 30% of individuals with a traumatic brain injury became worse within the first five years.
  • The medical condition of about 22% of individuals with a TBI stayed the same.
  • Only 26% of TBI patients improved after five years after the traumatic incident.

Most moderate to severe traumatic brain injury survivors receiving weekly or daily inpatient rehabilitation care die within 9 years after the traumatic event occurred. Many of these individuals faced various chronic health issues that add a burden and cost to families and caregivers helping the patient with a TBI. These patients are:

  • 50 times more likely to develop seizures
  • 11 times more likely to experience accidental drug poisoning
  • 9 times more likely to acquire an infection
  • 6 times more likely to develop and ammonia

The groups of patients with a traumatic brain injury receiving inpatient rehabilitation are more likely to die sooner than others. The group includes:

  • Seniors
  • Men
  • Unmarried men and women
  • Unemployed men and women
  • Less-educated men and women
  • Individuals with severe TBI
  • Individuals with a fall-related traumatic brain injury

Other long-term adverse effects of the traumatic brain injury among patients still alive five years after the event include:

  • 57% suffer moderate or severe disabilities
  • 55% are unemployed, but held the job when the injury occurred
  • 50% or hospitalized at least once
  • 33% require assistance from others to perform everyday activities
  • 29% say they are unsatisfied with life
  • 29% misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs
  • 12% live in caregiver institutions, including nursing homes

Researchers have found that studied individuals with TBIs are twice as likely to die than the general population. Other contributing factors including the leading cause of death in the first year after the injury included being older, unemployed when the injury occurred, and the extent of their disabilities when discharged from rehabilitative therapy.

Traumatic Brain Injury Cost Stats

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that one out of every six individuals in the United States has a TBI-related disability, representing 5.3 million of the total population. Studies show that the economic cost of government and family costs associated with TBIs include:

  • An estimated $76.5 billion in annual total costs
  • An estimated $11.5 billion in direct medical care
  • Approximately $65 billion and indirect costs, including nonmedical expenses, productivity loss, and lost earnings

Nearly all patients with TBIs face substantial medical expenses in dealing directly with the injury. These costs could include ongoing physical, speech, and occupational therapies, caregiving expenses, and non-economic damages, including pain and suffering.

A Failure to Accurately Diagnose

According to the Brain Injury Alliance, not every case of TBI is accurately diagnosed. One recent study identified 56% of all mild traumatic brain injuries went undiagnosed in the emergency room but were later accurately diagnosed with documented brain trauma injury.

Not every traumatic brain injury symptom is apparent to doctors or the injured survivor. The signs and symptoms of possible traumatic brain injury should be evaluated if anyone has a blow to the head, severe jolt, or whiplash movement in any accident or event.

Even a mild traumatic brain injury can cause substantial impairment and challenges. The injury might take months or years to heal completely. Many concussions go undiagnosed when significant bruising to the brain or broken small blood vessels begin to leak inside the brain.

Repeated concussions can cause catastrophic damage or death. Some victims die days or weeks after the symptoms appear to go away when hidden bruising, swelling, or blood vessel carrying continues to re-injure the brain.

Penetrating brain injuries are much easier to diagnose when an object or bone fragment pierces the skull and causes heavy bleeding, breathing challenges, seizures, bleeding from the ears, loss of consciousness, movement, or bladder/bowel function.

Don’t Be a Statistic. Legal Representation is Available for Your Loved One Now

In your family's best interest, contact an Illinois traumatic brain injury attorney to ensure your family is adequately compensated for your damages. No family should experience the deep financial burden with the emotional strain of dealing with a loved one with a traumatic brain injury. Our attorneys are here to help.

Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All information you share with our law office remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.


Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
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