Brain Injury Definitions
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Recent data shows that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually.
A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from "mild," i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to "severe," i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a "mild" brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.
An ABI or Acquired Brain Injury is an injury to the brain which is not hereditary, congenital or degenerative that has occurred after birth. (Includes anoxia, aneurysms, infections to the brain and stroke.)
- 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year.
- Each year, 80,000 Americans experience the onset of long-term disability following TBI.
- More than 50,000 people die every year as a result of TBI.
- The risk of TBI is highest among adolescents, young adults and those older than 75.
- After one brain injury, the risk for a second injury is three times greater; after the second injury, the risk for a third injury is eight times greater.
- TBI is the leading cause of death and disability among youth and young adults.
The Cost of a Brain Injury
The cost of traumatic brain injury in the United States is estimated to be $48.3 billion annually. Hospitalization accounts for $31.7 billion, and fatal brain injuries cost the nation $16.6 billion each year.
The Consequences of Brain Injury
Cognitive Consequences Can Include:
- Short term memory loss; long term memory loss
- Slowed ability to process information
- Trouble concentrating or paying attention for periods of time
- Difficulty keeping up with a conversation; other communication difficulties such as word finding problems
- Spatial disorientation
- Organizational problems and impaired judgment
- Unable to do more than one thing at a time
- A lack of initiating activities, or once started, difficulty in completing tasks without reminders
Physical Consequences Can Include:
- Seizures of all types
- Muscle spasticity
- Double vision or low vision, even blindness
- Loss of smell or taste
- Speech impairments such as slow or slurred speech
- Headaches or migraines
- Fatigue, increased need for sleep
- Balance problems
Emotional Consequences Can Include:
- Increased anxiety
- Depression and mood swings
- Impulsive behavior
- More easily agitated
- Egocentric behaviors; difficulty seeing how behaviors can affect others