Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a silent epidemic that continues to be a largely unrecognized major public health problem, even though over 2.8 million people will visit an emergency room because of brain injury every year in the US. In the state of Georgia, over 50,000 suspected traumatic brain injuries are reported each year through the Central Registry. These numbers do not include our military veterans or acquired brain injuries from strokes, tumors, brain bleeds, or other causes.
TBI is defined by the CDC as a “bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” may be caused by a sudden insult to the brain from an external force (traumatic brain injury, “TBI”). Not all blows and jolts to the head cause a TBI. Severity is determined by a variety of factors, such as how long (or if) the person lost consciousness, and the level of responsiveness after the event. A person with a mild TBI, or concussion, may not lose consciousness at all, whereas someone with a moderate TBI could lose consciousness for hours, and a person with a severe TBI may be in a coma for weeks.
Cognitive, physical, behavioral, and emotional problems are common consequences of TBI. Although many people recover well, moderate and severe TBI are lifelong conditions, so that support systems are critical to the long term health of those affected by TBI.