Traumatic Brain Injury in Adults

The CDC (2019) identified the following leading causes:

  • Falls and motor vehicle crashes were reported to be the first and second leading causes of all TBI-related hospitalizations (52% and 20%, respectively). 
  • Falls accounted for almost half (48%) of all TBI-related emergency department visits and 81% of TBI-related emergency department visits by persons aged 65 and older. 
  • Collision-related events (being struck by or against an object) accounted for about 17% of all TBI-related emergency department visits in the United States in 2014. 
  • Intentional self-harm was the leading cause of TBI-related deaths (33%) in 2014. 

Falls were the leading cause of hospitalizations among adults 55 years of age and older (CDC, 2014). Motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of hospitalizations for adolescents and adults aged 15–44 years of age. Persons aged 15–24 years and 75 years and older are at highest risk of sustaining a TBI, with the most common causes attributed to motor vehicle crashes, falls, and violence (CDC, 2014; Faul et al., 2010).

Sports-related injuries and explosive blasts/military combat injuries are other leading causes of TBI. Acquiring a brain injury may predispose an individual to additional brain injuries before symptoms of the first have resolved completely; the second impact is more likely to cause brain swelling and widespread damage (Dessy, Rasouli, & Choudhri, 2015). See ASHA's resource on common classifications of TBI.

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