Concussion and traumatic brain injury in the U.S.- Statistics & Facts

Concussion occurs when the head or body is hit or shaken hard enough that it moves and injures the brain. A concussion is also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and is the most common type of such injuries. Symptoms of concussion include, but are not limited to, headache, nausea, difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly, and dizziness. In more extreme cases concussion can cause one to lose consciousness, and repeated concussions can lead to long-term problems affecting speech, learning, and memory, however, most people fully recover from concussions given rest and time. In 2016, it was estimated that seven percent of children in the U.S. aged 3 to 17 years had experienced a significant head injury at some point in their life, with the chances of such injury increasing with age.

One frequent cause of concussion among children and adolescents is through the playing of sports. The danger of concussion in sports, especially American football, has been highlighted more in recent years as the long-term effects of such injuries have become more apparent. A Statista survey from 2017 found that 85 percent of U.S. adults thought concussions were the biggest health risk associated with playing football, while 56 percent thought physical injuries such as fractures and sprains were the biggest risk. From 2010 to 2016, there were over 53,600 emergency department visits for nonfatal traumatic brain injuries among children and adolescents due to football. In 2017, it was estimated that around nine percent of high school students suffered one concussion while playing sports, while two percent suffered four or more concussions. Unsurprisingly, the more sports teams high school students are a part of the higher the chances they experience a concussion.

Severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can cause similar, but more serious symptoms to a concussion, but can also result in permanent brain damage that requires physical or speech therapy, or even death. In 2017, there were around 61,100 deaths related to traumatic brain injury in the United States. TBI-related death rates are significantly higher among males than females, and suicide and unintentional falls are the most common causes of such injuries. The elderly account for the vast majority of fall-related TBI deaths in the United States.

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Concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the U.S.

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Concussion and sports

Traumatic brain injury-related deaths

Fall-related TBI deaths

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