We take for granted the role our brain plays in our lives. We move through our days facing minor irritations, finding times when we are not as sharp as we would like, maybe having some moments of forgetfulness. We notice that when we are tired or stressed, things are not as easy as when we are rested and focused. But what we generally do not think about is how the brain is responsible for our every action, emotion, and thought.
A brain injury can affect how a person feels, thinks, acts, and relates to others. The important role our brain plays in all areas of our functioning, and our lives, comes into sharp relief when there is an injury to the brain.
Brain injuries are classified into two different categories.
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
All forms of brain injury that occur after birth, regardless of the cause, are termed Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Trauma, stroke, aneurysm, loss of oxygen to the brain (caused by heart attack, near drowning, suffocation, etc.), infectious disease and toxic exposure are some of the causes of ABI.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a form of acquired brain injury that results from an external blow, penetration or jolt to brain. The severity of TBI ranges from mild to severe. Common causes of TBI are falls, car accidents, assaults, gunshot wounds and sports related impacts. A closed head injury is one that does not involve damage to the skull. An open head injury (also called a penetrating head injury) is when the skull is breached or damaged.
Brain Injury Statistics
Brain injury is a significant public health problem.
These injuries not only affect the individual and his or her family, they also take a toll on our economy and our society.
- An estimated 1.7 million children and adults in the U.S. sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and another 795,000 individuals sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI) from other causes each year.
- 5.3 million Americans live with a long-term disability as a result of TBI.
- The annual cost of TBI to society exceeds $76.5 billion.
- The annual cost of stroke in the United States was $53.9 billion in 2010.
- 75% of traumatic brain injuries are classified as “mild.”
- Children ages zero to four-years-old, older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years, and adults aged 65 years and older are most likely to sustain a TBI.
- Males are more likely, at any age, to sustain a TBI.
- Falls are the leading cause of TBI. Rates are highest for children aged zero to four-years-old, and for adults aged 75 years and older.
- A stroke happens every 40 seconds in the US.
- An estimated 1.1 million living in the US have a disability due to a stroke.
Sources: Brain Injury Association of America; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
Brain Injury Information Handbook
For more comprehensive information about brain injury, we invite you to read our helpful Brain Injury Information Handbook – a free guide for survivors and families as they navigate through their journey toward recovery after an acquired brain injury, from hospital to home.