What is a TBI?

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.

TBI's can range from mild, in which there is just a brief change in cognition or consciousness, to severe, in which there is an extended period of unconsciousness and memory loss.¹

TBI signs and symptoms

Physical: headaches, sleep disturbance, dizziness, balance problems, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, visual disturbances, sensitivity to light, ringing in the ears

Cognitive: Concentration problems, temporary gaps in memory, attention problems, slowed thinking, difficulty finding words

Emotional: irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings ²

How many are affected by TBI?

In 2010, about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with TBI—either alone or in combination with other injuries—in the United States.

TBI contributed to the deaths of more than 50,000 people.

TBI was a diagnosis in more than 280,000 hospitalizations and 2.2 million ED visits. These consisted of TBI alone or TBI in combination with other injuries.³

Affected more than 300,000 military personnel between 2000-2013

What are the leading causes of TBI?

35.2% of all TBI's are caused by a fall.

17.3% of all TBI's are caused by a motor accident.

16.5% of all TBI's are the result of being struck by an object.

10% of all TBI's are caused by an assault.

21% of TBI's have an unknown or other cause.³


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Report to Congress on mild traumatic brain injury in the United States: steps to prevent a serious public health problem. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003.

2. Defense and veterans brain injury center

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nonfatal Traumatic Brain Injuries Related to Sports and Recreation Activities Among Persons Aged ≤19 Years — United States, 2001–2009. MMWR 2011; 60(39):1337–1342.

4. department of defense