March has been designated as brain injury awareness month, and the Brain Injury Association of America's message for its 2013 awareness campaign is "Brain Injuries do not discriminate."
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. A TBI can range in severity from "mild" to "severe". The majority of TBI's that occur each are concussions.
The association reports the following facts:
- 1.7 million people, including 475,000 children, sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in this country every year. Of those who sustain a TBI, 52,000 die, 275,000 will require hospitalization and 1.3 million will be treated and released from an emergency room.
- TBI contributes to one-third of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. each year.
- 3.1 million people live with lifelong disability as a result of TBI.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that TBI costs this country $76.3 billion each year in direct medical costs and indirect costs.
- Causes of TBI include falls (35 percent), car crashes (17 percent), work place accidents (16 percent), and assaults (10 percent).
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, for many Americans a TBI is the start of a lifelong neurological disability, which is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. When a TBI is sustained, immediate access to specialized trauma care, followed by specialized rehabilitation and lifelong disease management are some of the elements needed to restore and maintain an individual's quality of life.