Brain Injury Overview for Media

What is the definition of Brain Injury?

Brain injury is defined as damage to the brain tissue itself that affects how you function in your daily life.

What is TBI?

The Brain Injury Association of America website defines Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as an external force to the brain such as falls, assaults, motor vehicle crashes, struck by/against an object, and sports injuries.

What are some of the common effects of brain injury – acquired or traumatic?

  • Cognitive Changes/Disabilities
    • Short-Term Memory
    • Attention and Concentration
    • Sensory Overload
    • Organization
    • Problem Solving/Reasoning
    • Communication and Language
  • Physical Changes/Disabilities
    • Speech
    • Seizures
    • Headaches
  • Perception or Sensory Changes/Disabilities
    • Hearing, Vision, Touch and Balance
    • Object differentiation
    • Depth perception
  • Mental Health or Emotional Changes/Disabilities
    • Psychological issues: anxiety, depression, etc.

How many brain injuries occur in Missouri and the United States each year?

About 16,500 traumatic brain injuries occur in Missouri each year, based on Missouri Information for Community Assessment (MICA) data. The national estimate is 2.8 million traumatic brain injuries annually according to the CDC.

How many people have a long-term disability due to brain injury in the United States and Missouri?

There is currently an estimated 5.3 million Americans (this includes children and adults) who are living with long-term disabilities due to brain injury. In Missouri, this number is 118,000 individuals.

What ages of people are most at risk for brain injury?

Statistics tell us that persons who are at highest risk for a brain injury are toddlers, adolescents, young adults, and individuals 65 and older. The leading causes vary with age.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Statistics:



0 – 4 yearsAssaults
5 – 24 yearsMotor Vehicle crashes
25 – 64 yearsIntentional Self-harm
65 and olderFalls

These high risk populations are the same in Missouri. The MICA data for 2015 reports the following TBIs by age group.

Learn more from the CDC

Missouri Resident TBI Injuries 2015 by Age Group

Statistics:CountRatePercent of TBIs
Under 153,456300.0820.64
15 – 243,930475.1023.47
25 – 443,342217.0919.96
45 – 642,681166.4816.01
65 and Over3,330348.7219.89
Total for selection16,743275.99100

Rate: For each Age: Crude Rate per 100,000
Total for selection: Age Adjusted Rate per 100,000 using 2000 Standard Populations
Source: DHSS- MORPHIMS – Injury MICA
Generated on 5/2/2018
*Rate is unreliable; numerator less than 20

An example of rate interpretation: 300.08 per 100,00 resident youth under the age of 15 in Missouri sustained a brain injury in 2015.

Download TBI Age Breakout 2015 Chart

MICA Statistics

What are the most common causes of brain injury?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports the number one cause of a traumatic brain injury is falling.

Falls account for 47% of TBIs. The second leading cause of brain injury, at 15%, is being struck by or against an object. Third leading cause is motor vehicle crashes at 14%. Assaults are the fourth leading cause of brain injury and occur in 11% of individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury.

Missouri Resident TBI Injuries 2015 By Mechanism

Statistics:CountRatePercent of TBIs
Struck By/Against3,81166.555.64
Motor Vehicle Traffic3,11452.460.14
Motor Vehicle – Non Traffic84814.550.02
All Other94516.0044.47
Other Transport390.6418.60
Over Exertion120.200.02
Total for selection16,743275.99100.00

Download TBI Mechanism Breakout 2015 Chart

Rate: Injury rates are annualized per 100,000 residents and are age adjusted to the U.S. 2000 standard population.
Source: DHSS – MOPHIMS – Injury MICA
Generated On: 5/2/2018
*Rate is unreliable; numerator less than 20

There is another 19% of brain injuries for which the cause is unknown, because the person cannot remember or explain what happened, and there was not a witness to provide information.

Who to Contact
  • Call or email Maureen Cunningham, BIA-MO Executive Director at or 314-426-4024.


Bowling for Brain Injury continues on June 11 in Kansas City and June 15 in St. Louis. More than $25,000 has been raised so far. There is still time to participate and help others! Learn more about Bowling for Brain
Survivors of brain injury and family members will come together for an in-person event, depending on the Seminar that best fits your
Thank you for supporting the Brain Injury Association of Missouri for Give STL Day on May 9, 2024. Your Give STL Day donations will have a big impact for survivors of brain injury and their families. They will know help is available, hope is essential, and healing is