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[New Study] Latest Brain Injury Statistics: What You Need to Know

The human brain is one of the most complex organs in the body, and any injury to it can have significant and long-lasting effects. Brain injuries can occur in many different ways, from sports-related concussions to strokes and traumatic accidents. 

Understanding Brain Injuries

Understanding how the brain works and what happens when it gets injured is important. The brain is responsible for controlling all bodily functions and movements, as well as our thoughts, emotions, and senses. When an injury occurs, it can disrupt these functions, leading to a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.

Types of Brain Injuries

There are several types of brain injuries, each having its own set of causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Here are the most common types:


Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken or jolted inside the skull. They are often caused by sports-related injuries or car accidents. Symptoms can include headache, dizziness, confusion, and memory loss.


A contusion is a bruise on the brain, which occurs when the brain hits the inside of the skull. They can be caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking. Symptoms can include headache, vomiting, seizures, and loss of consciousness.


A hematoma is a collection of blood outside of the blood vessels, which can occur in the brain as a result of a head injury. They can be classified as epidural, subdural, or intracerebral depending on where they occur in the brain. Symptoms can include headache, confusion, and difficulty speaking or moving.


A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted, either by a blood clot or a burst blood vessel. This can cause brain damage and lead to symptoms such as paralysis, difficulty speaking or understanding language, and loss of vision.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a broad term that encompasses any injury to the brain caused by an external force, such as a blow to the head or a car accident. Symptoms can range from mild, such as headache and dizziness, to severe, such as loss of consciousness and coma.

Recent Brain Injury Mortality Statistics

  • According to data from 2021, there were over 69,000 TBI-related deaths in the United States. This averages out to 190 deaths per day.
  • Men were nearly two times more likely to be hospitalized due to TBI and three times more likely to die a TBI-related death.

Examining Age and Gender as Predictors of Brain Injury Outcomes

Age and gender are two factors that have been studied in correlation to traumatic brain injuries requiring hospitalization. 

The Role of Age in Brain Injury Outcomes

Age Number of Hospitalizations (2016-2017) Number of Deaths (2016-2017)
0-17 37140 5508
0-4 13895 1458
5-9 5810 584
10-14 7285 1025
15-24 46330 13949
25-34 45665 15052
35-44 36130 12294
45-54 46395 14267
55-64 56335 16079
65-74 60420 14112
75+ 132485 31845
Total 450775 120647
  • Among all age groups, individuals aged 75 years and above had the highest incidence of TBI-related hospitalizations and deaths in both 2016 and 2017.
  • Adults over the age of 75 made up half of the TBI-related hospitalizations caused by unintentional falls and accounted for two-thirds of the TBI-related deaths resulting from such falls.
  • Individuals aged 15-24 years old had the highest rates of TBI-related deaths and hospitalizations resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Those aged 25-34 years had the second-highest rate of TBI-related deaths and hospitalizations, followed closely by adults aged 75 years and above.
  • Children between the ages of 0-17 years old were at a higher risk of TBI-related hospitalizations caused by falls and motor vehicle crashes, and those in this age group also had a higher susceptibility to TBI-related deaths resulting from motor vehicle collisions.
  • The age groups with the highest incidence of TBI-related hospitalizations per 100,000 population were:
    • The elderly population aged 75 years and above
    • Adults in the age range of 65-74 years old
    • Those between the ages of 55-64 years old had the third-highest rate of TBI-related hospitalizations.

The Role of Gender in Brain Injury Outcomes

Gender   Number of Hospitalizations (2016-2017) Number of Deaths (2016-2017)
Female 17985 32179
Male 276685 88495
  • Males have significantly higher rates of TBI-related hospitalization and TBI-related deaths compared to females for all mechanisms of injury which includes unintentional falls, motor vehicle crashes, suicide, and homicide.
  • Males that are American Indian or Alaska Native displayed high rates of TBI-related deaths when compared to other racial groups due to motor vehicle crashes.
  • Women are more likely to die from unintentional falls than unintentional motor vehicle crashes, suicide, homicide, and other TBI-related deaths.

Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries can occur from taking a blow to the head. Research has shown that they occur from the following: 

Unintentional Motor Vehicle Accidents

Age Number of Deaths (2016-2017)
0-17 1921
0-4 444
5-9 313
10-14 364
15-24 4715
25-34 4351
35-44 3020
45-54 3045
55-64 2853
65-74 1820
75+ 1714
Total 22639
  • Motor vehicle crashes were the third most common cause of TBI-related fatalities in 2016-2017.
  • Motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause of TBI-related hospitalizations, with an average age-adjusted rate of 16.9.  
  • Unintentional motor vehicle crashes accounted for approximately 17% of all TBI-related deaths with an average annual rate of 3.1 per 100,000 population. 
  • Motor vehicle crashes accounted for approximately 25% of all TBI-related hospitalizations in 2016 and 2017.

Unintentional Falls

Age Number of Deaths (2016-2017)
0-17 100
0-4 35
5-9 13
15-24 604
25-34 392
35-44 645
45-54 1617
55-64 3402
65-74 5360
75+ 22411
Total 34104
  • Unintentional falls accounted for approximately 30% of TBI-related deaths. 
  • Unintentional falls were the leading cause of injury for TBI-related hospitalizations during 2016 and 2017. 


Age Number of Deaths (2016-2017)
10-14 335
15-24 5388
25-34 6389
35-44 5649
45-54 6705
55-64 6939
65-74 5050
75+ 4908
Total 41364
  • Suicide accounted for 35.5% (data not shown) of TBI-related deaths and an average annual age-adjusted rate of 7.2 per 100,000 population. 
  • Suicide was a leading cause of TBI-related deaths and accounted for 35.5% of TBI-related deaths. 

Location Where Brain Injuries Occur the Most

  • Among all U.S. Census regions, individuals living in the South had the highest rates of TBI-related deaths, followed by the Midwest, West, and Northeast regions.


CDC: Traumatic brain injury-related hospitalizations and deaths by age group, sex, and mechanism of injury
CDC: Traumatic Brain Injury-related Deaths by Age Group, Sex, and Mechanism of Injury