Fast Facts from the WHA Information Center: Brain Injuries
Most people never imagine living with the effects of a long-term brain injury, but upwards of 5.3 million people in the United States are living with a permanent brain-related injury. Roughly 2.8 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, 47% of brain injuries occur from falls. Older adults have a greater risk of falls, and therefore, an increased risk for sustaining a traumatic brain injury. The second leading cause of brain injuries at 17% is being struck against something, while 13% of brain injuries result from motor vehicle accidents, the third-leading cause.
The Brain Injury Association of America also reports that every nine seconds someone in the United States sustains a brain injury. There are two different types of brain injuries: acquired brain injury (ABI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). An ABI is a brain injury that causes damage to the brain through internal factors. This includes things like lack of oxygen to the brain, exposure to toxins and pressure from a tumor. A TBI is an alteration of brain function caused by an external force.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center analyzed traumatic brain injuries from the collected claims data from 2017 to 2019 for inpatient, outpatient, emergency department visits and observation visits. In total for those years, roughly 50,000 brain injuries were suffered by patients. The average age of patients who visited the above facilities was 39. In keeping with the Brain Injury Association of America’s data, many older adults sustained head injuries from falls, but there were many children who were injured from sports and other accidents. Male patients visited facilities for brain injuries more frequently than females. On average, patients admitted to hospitals with a TBI stayed for about two days before being released.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and the Brain Injury Association of American hopes that its awareness campaign will increase understanding of brain injury as a chronic condition, reduce the stigma associated with having a brain injury, showcase the diversity of injuries and the demographics of the community, and improve care and support for individuals with brain injury and their families. The #MoreThanMyBrainInjury social media campaign aims to help educate people about what it is like to live with a brain injury.
This story originally appeared in the March 04, 2021 edition of WHA Newsletter