Basic Information about Traumatic Brain Injury

illustration of a traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2014, there were approximately 2.87 million TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the US, including over 837,000 of these health events among children. 1

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. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI 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.

CDC’s research and programs work to prevent TBI and help people better recognize, respond, and recover if a TBI occurs.

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References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019). Surveillance Report of Traumatic Brain Injury-related Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths—United States, 2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.