Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is damage to the brain caused by a blow to the head. The severity of the injury may range from minor, with few or no lasting consequences, to major, resulting in profound disability or death.
Overview of TBI
Although any injury to the brain is serious, and severe damage can be fatal, medical and surgical advances have improved the odds for surviving a TBI. Nevertheless, coping with the life-changing consequences of traumatic brain injury presents a great challenge for patients, families, physicians, therapists, and society.
Incidence and Prevalence of TBI
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.4 million people suffer TBI each year in the United States and about 50,000 people die from the injury. Estimates of the number of people who have survived a TBI range from 2.5 million to 6.5 million. The range is broad because mild TBI often goes unreported.
The cost of traumatic brain injuries in the United States is estimated at $48.3 billion annually: $31.7 billion in hospitalization costs and another $16.6 billion in costs associated with fatalities.
The CDC estimates the total cost of acute care and rehabilitation for TBI victims in the United States is $9 billion to $10 billion per year, not including indirect costs to families and society (e.g., lost earnings, work time, and productivity for family members, caregivers, and employers, or the costs associated with providing social services).
It is estimated that over a lifetime, it can cost between $600,000 and $1,875,000 to care for a survivor of severe TBI.