Causes and Incidence of TBI

Primary causes of TBI include falls, blunt trauma, and motor vehicle accidents:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Brain Injury Association of America (BIA-USA) state that children 0-4 years of age and 15-19 years of age are at the greatest risk for TBI.
  • From 2006-2010, the CDC reports that approximately 40.5% of all TBIs resulted from falls. Falls (i.e. out of bed, down the stairs, or in the bath/shower) are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Approximately 15.5% of all TBIs resulted from unintentional blunt trauma (for example, being hit by an object). Approximately 14% of all TBIs resulted from motor vehicle accidents. Approximately 10% of all TBIs resulted from assault.
  • Males and females 10-19 years of age experience TBI during sports/recreation activities, such as basketball, cheerleading, football, ice hockey, and soccer.
  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of brain injury and death for individuals age 15-20 years.
  • Children and older adults are more susceptible to TBIs from falls than other age groups.

In 2010 alone, over 50,000 died from causes that included TBI. For nonfatal TBIs from 2006-2010, men were more likely than women to be hospitalized or visit the emergency room. Adults 65 years of age and older were the most likely of any age group to be hospitalized because of a TBI, while children up to 4 years of age were the most likely to be seen in the emergency room for a TBI. Falls were the most common reason for TBI-related emergency room visits for most age groups; however, assaults were the most common reason for emergency room visits in individuals 15-24 years of age. For TBI-related hospitalizations, falls were the most common reason in children up to 14 years of age and in adults 45 years of age and older. Motor vehicle incidents were the most common reason for TBI hospitalization in individuals 15-44 years of age.

Sources: Brain Injury Association of AmericaCenters for Disease Control and PreventionNational Association of School Psychologists