The skull protects what many people would consider the most important organ in the human body, the brain. This central hub of neural functioning is responsible for involuntary actions such as breathing and heart rate, and every voluntary action a person makes. Texans know that head injuries are a serious problem given that 144,000 state residents suffer such injuries each year. Brain injuries can be mild, but they can also be severe enough to disable and kill. Recovering from head injuries is difficult, requiring time and money for treatment and rehabilitation.
Around the country, an estimated 1.7 million people suffer brain injuries every year. Brain trauma kills 52,000 people annually, and another 275,000 people are hospitalized because of brain injuries. Recent statistics show that 5.3 million Americans now live with disabilities caused by brain injuries. For children and young adults, traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of both disability and death; in fact, TBI is the fourth leading cause of death in the country. For people 15- to 64-years-old, motor vehicle accidents are one of the major causes of TBI; people ages 65 and older often suffer TBIs from falls.
Brain injury patients need extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover various functions, including cognitive-processing abilities and speech. Treatment and rehabilitation, however, can be extremely expensive and financially injure a patient's family. The often prohibitive costs may be why some brain injury patients end their days living in nursing homes or psychiatric institutions.
Most families with loved ones suffering from brain injuries come to understand that there is no guarantee their loved ones will fully recover, even with expensive treatments and therapy. Still, no family should lose hope. Fortunately, an army of medical researchers continues to look for ways to treat brain injuries and their consequences.
Source: Texasbia.org, "Brain injury statistics," accessed on July 23, 2014