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A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control found that an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBI) annually.

An impact or jolt of the head or a penetrating head injury can cause a traumatic brain injury, disrupting the normal function of the brain. A TBI can vary in severity, ranging from brief unconsciousness or temporary change in mental status to coma and death. People suffering from a TBI may have short or long-term effects to motor functions, memory, reasoning or perception, sensations such as touch, taste or smell, language and communication or emotions such as depression, anxiety or personality changes. TBI can cause epilepsy and increased risk of brain disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control authored the report, titled Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths 2002–2006.

Key findings in the report include:

· Of an estimated 1.7 million incidences of traumatic brain injury annually, 52,000 people die, 275,000 people require hospitalization and 80% or 1.365 million are treated and released from an emergency department.

· TBI is a contributing factor in about 30% of all injury related deaths, with motor vehicle-traffic injury the leading cause of these deaths.

· Age groups most often affected by TBI are children 0-4 years old, adolescents 15-19 years old and adults over 65.

· Nearly half a million children aged 0-14 years visit the emergency department with a TBI each year.

· People 75 years of age and older have the highest rates of TBI related hospitalization and death.

· The leading cause of traumatic brain injuries are falls. Children aged 0 to 4 years of age and adults aged 75 and older have the highest TBI due to fall rates.

From 2002 to 2006:

· Incidences of TBI related emergency room visits increased by 14.4% and hospitalizations by 19.5%.

· Fall related cases of TBI in children 0-14 years of age visiting the emergency department rose 62%.

“This report not only presents TBI numbers, it helps to show the impact of this injury nationwide. These data can help to impact the lives of millions of Americans as they serve as building blocks that guide TBI prevention strategies. They also help to identify research and education priorities and support the need for services among individuals at risk or living with a TBI," stated Richard C. Hunt, M.D., director of CDC’s Division for Injury Response in a CDC press release.

Causes of traumatic brain injury where you may need the services of a lawyer experienced in personal injury include accidents involving motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. TBI may also result from slip and falls, falling debris or other unsafe property conditions, participation in sports or even a physical assault. You may need a personal injury lawyer because your TBI was not treated properly, resulting from medical malpractice or hospital negligence.

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