A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of such an injury 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. A TBI can result in short or long-term problems with independent function.
Approximately 1.4 million people have a TBI each year in the U.S., and about 50,000 die from the TBI. At least 5.3 million Americans currently have a long-term or lifelong disability due to a TBI. The leading causes of TBI are motor vehicle crashes, falls, and assaults.
Publications and Reports
- In 2005 there were 571 deaths among MA residents which were associated with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In FY 2005, there were 5193 inpatient hospitalizations, 1303 observation stays and 39,640 emergency department visits for nonfatal traumatic brain injury at MA acute care hospitals.
- The leading cause of TBI-related death, hospitalization and emergency department visits is a fall.
- Older MA residents, ages 65 years and over, have the highest rates of TBI-related death and hospitalization.
- Infants under 1 year of age in MA have the highest rates of emergency room visits for a nonfatal TBI.
- Most (68%) TBI-related deaths in 2005 were unintentional. Seventeen percent of TBI-related deaths were due to suicide. Ten percent of TBI-related deaths were due to homicide.
Adapted from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/tbi/Prevention.htm.
- Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
- Buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child's height, weight, and age).
- Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Wear a helmet and make sure your children wear helmets when:
- Riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or all-terrain vehicle
- Playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing
- Make living areas safer for seniors and children to prevent falls.
- Make sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.
- Stay away from violence and guns.
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Julie Kautz Mills