by Michelle West

Traumatic Brain Injury, Part 4

Traumatic Brain Injury or TBIIn this final post of the TBI series on traumatic brain injuries, The Independence Center will summarize the statistics found on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website regarding traumatic brain injuries. (Source:

Disability etiquette starts with understanding where the other person is coming from and then knowing how to best relate to that person in a way that’s good for them. The Independence Center hopes that this information will help those without traumatic brain injuries learn more about disability etiquette to apply when providing support with those who have a traumatic brain injury.

While this is last post of the TBI series, The Independence Center encourages you to refer to the first to third posts that The Independence Center has posted in this series. The first post will give you general information about traumatic brain injuries and how a person with a traumatic brain injury might process information and how they might react. The second post provides tips on how to successfully interact and support someone with a TBI. And, the third post gives information on what not to do when communicating with someone who has a traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Kevin Corrigan has a TBI himself and is a staff member in The Independence Center’s Independent Living peer support program. Dr. Corrigan leads The Independence Center’s traumatic brain injury peer support group for people who live in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. He has summarized the statistics below from the CDC website.

Definition of traumatic brain injuries

  • 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 “mild” TBI is a brief change in mental status or consciousness
  • A “severe” TBI is an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.

General traumatic brain injury statistics

  • 7 million TBIs annually
  • 75% of such TBIs are concussions or “mild TBIs”
  • The highest risk populations are:
    • Children 0-4 years old
    • Adolescents 15-19 years old
    • Adults >65 years old; These older adults have the highest rates of hospitalization and death.

Various statistics and facts about traumatic brain injuries in the USA

  • Direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity from TBI totaled an estimated $76.5 billion in the U.S. in 2000
  • TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults ages 1 to 44 years old
  • TBIs are most often caused by motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and falls
  • Approximately 52,000 deaths occur from TBIs each year
  • 1,500,000 head injuries are seen in Emergency Rooms each year
  • 1,600,000—3,800,000 sports-related TBIs occur each year
  • 3 million Americans (2% of the US population) currently live with disabilities resulting from a TBI
  • Males are two times as likely as females to experience a TBI

Traumatic brain injuries in the military

  • “Blast injuries” are a leading cause of TBI among active duty military personnel in war zones
  • 30% of soldiers admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Center have been diagnosed as having had a TBI
  • Veterans’ advocates believe that 10-20% of Iraq veterans (150,000—300,000 service members) have some level of TBI

Your support and meaningful communication to someone who has a TBI is so important! Now that you have all four posts in this series – the first one  which gives a general understanding of TBIs, the second post detailing how to support someone with a traumatic brain injury, the third post which gives tips on what not to do when interacting with someone who has a TBI, and this last post – We at The Independence Center hope engaging with someone who has a traumatic brain injury can be done with much more effectiveness.

Lastly, please visit The Independence Center’s calendar of events or contact us for more information about The Independence Center’s peer support program. If someone you know, or you yourself, has a TBI, The IC is here to support you where you’re at!