How Common is TBI?


Estimates from the “Epidemiology” chapter of the “Textbook of Traumatic Brain Injury” (American Psychiatric Association) (Amazon):

Medically attended brain injury cases in the U.S. per year (hospital admissions + prehospital deaths): 336,000.
Of these, 154,000 are “mild,” 92,400 are moderate, and 61,600 are severe.
100% of the patients suffering mild TBI are discharged alive.
93% of the moderately brain-injured patients are discharged alive.
42% of the severely brain-injured patients are discharged alive.
So 265,804 (154,000 [mild] + 85,932 [moderate] + 25,872 [severe]) brain-injured patients are discharged alive.

Assuming that 10% of mildly brain-injured patients have some neurological limitation, that two-thirds of moderately brain-injured patients are disabled, and that all severely brain-injured patients have residual effect, the total annual number of new disabilities from brain injuries (based on year 2000 numbers) is about 98,560 — about 35 per 100,000 population.

Official estimates of the number of brain-injured soldiers are based on penetrative head injuries; we know that disability can result from brain injuries that don’t involve penetration of the skull as well. I referred here to the estimate of “neurologists affiliated with the U.S. military” that up to 150,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan may be “suffering” from some disabling neurological damage from brain injury (TBI).

Some number of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been disabled by brain injuries had they stayed at home, but this number is, by my calculations, less than 400, which leaves us with more than 149,000 young men and women who are disabled by traumatic brain injuries because of their service to the country.

These (estimated) 149,000+ brain-injured veterans add about 25% to the estimated annual U.S. brain injury disability toll.

And, for my fellow Texas criminal defense attorneys: more than 13,000 of these brain-injured soldiers are Texans.

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