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How common is a traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injuries are more common than many Arizona residents may think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were approximately 2.5 million reported cases of traumatic brain injuries in 2010 alone. That 2.5 million included hospitalizations, visits to emergency rooms and fatal accidents. Approximately 50,000 of those diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury died that same year.

The vast majority of traumatic brain injuries are diagnosed during emergency room visits, and it is common for there to be a combination of other injuries as well. The most common known causes of traumatic brain injury from 2006 to 2010 were falls, blows to the head and motor vehicle accidents. Sports injuries are also a leading cause of traumatic brain injury, especially in the younger demographic. It is not always possible to predict scenarios that may result in a head injury, and the cause was unknown in approximately 19 percent of the injuries reported in this time period.

The number of emergency rooms visits for a traumatic brain injury has been steadily rising in the past years, increasing a considerable 70 percent from 2001 to 2010. It is unclear, though, whether this rise is from an increase in the number of actual injuries or a result of better awareness surrounding the severity of head injuries and the need for treatment.

It often takes a relatively minor amount of force to cause a very serious head injury and in some cases, the signs of a concussion or other brain injury may be missed or mistaken as stress-related symptoms from the incident. Diagnosing a head injury is the first step toward determining who may be liable and what the legal options may be.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Fact Sheet" Dec. 27, 2014

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