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Brain Injury Overview

Traumatic brain injuries often result in widespread damage to the victim’s life. In many cases traumatic brain injuries cause long-term or permanent physical, emotional and mental difficulties that are misunderstood by employers, family members and friends, therefore placing additional distress on the unfortunate victim. Brain injuries may result in long-term medical, financial and emotional damages for those injured and their families, who may become their sole caregivers.

In the United States the annual costs of care for victims of traumatic brain injuries is estimated at nearly $50 billion. Costs to the victims account for $30 billion spent annually and within an injured person’s lifetime can reach $4 million. Rehabilitation, medical costs, adaptive measures and lifestyle modifications can accumulate to almost $200,000 every 4 years for each survivor while more acute rehabilitation costs can average $1000 a day.

Brain injury victims suffer from lost wages as well as enormous expenses. Many survivors of a severe traumatic brain injury are young adults who can never return to work after their accident. Although most brain injuries are mild, victims of serious brain injuries experience psychological effects like long-term depression, prolonged anxiety, loss of social interaction and support, slow or no improvement of functionality and the ongoing need for assistance in their daily lives.

Types of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries may be mild, moderate or severe. Mild brain injuries typically result in a brief loss of consciousness and a slight change in mental state at the time of the injury. Moderate brain injuries result from impact to the head or violent shaking. Victims may lose consciousness for minutes or hours and may remain in a confused state for days or weeks. Severe brain injuries usually result from a penetrating blow to the head and result in permanent brain damage or death.

Brain injuries fall under two main categories: traumatic and acquired. Traumatic brain injuries occur as the result of an external force while acquired brain injuries may result from an internal source, like a stroke, or an external one. Traumatic brain injuries include concussions, contusions, coup-contrecoup diffuse anoxia and penetration. Acquired brain injuries are categorized as anoxic or hypoxic.

How Brain Injuries Occur

Some form of drug or alcohol abuse is involved in nearly 50% of all fatal brain injuries. 28% of all traumatic brain injuries occur as a result of motor vehicle accidents, and 50% of all brain injuries are severe enough to require hospitalization. Sports injuries and other physical activity injuries represent another 20% of all TBI’s; injuries from personal assaults and violence make up another 10% of brain trauma. The remaining 45% of brain injuries are caused by a wide variety of other accidents.

Brain Injury Statistics

  • Approximately 2 million head injuries occur annually in the United States; 1.5 million of those brain injuries are non-fatal and do not require hospitalization or long-term institutionalization.
  • 300,000 of all the brain injury victims require hospitalization; 100,000 of those result in permanent disability.
  • Over 55,000 individuals die as a direct result of traumatic brain injuries each year.
  • 34% of all injury deaths in the United States are caused by traumatic brain injuries.

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