Concussions are indeed a major health problem. Every year, up to 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury and an estimated 5.3 million individuals incur a disabling disability as the result of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). (90% of all traumatic brain injuries are concussions.) Even in peacetime, over 7000 Americans with a diagnosis of TBI are admitted to military and veteran’s hospitals each year. The CDC estimates up to 3.8 million sports related concussions in the US annually.
The Centers for Disease Control reports an estimated 3.5 million Americans live with disabilities associated with TBI-and many experts consider that to be an underestimate because our country’s reporting system does not track concussion victims after discharge from the emergency room and hospital setting.
Experts believe that there are no statistics to account for the many long term effects of concussions. Many concussion victims return to work but with greater effort and less efficiency.
A person who has suffered a single concussion is considered to be at 3 times greater risk of having a second concussion. The risk of a third is considered 8 times greater.
One study reports the annual costs of brain injury, both medical and loss of productivity, to be $76.5 billion.
The Brain Injury Association of America defines brain injury as a “chronic disease”, not a “final outcome” but rather the beginning of a “chronic process”. It reports that even individuals with mild traumatic brain injury have been found to have a statistically significant reduction in long-term survival with increased mortality from systemic poisoning, pneumonia and respiratory conditions. Various studies have reported that persons with concussion injuries have an increased likelihood of developing numerous psychiatric diseases, and such including obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety disorders, psych conic disorders, mood disorders and major depression. Various studies have reported an increased likelihood of divorce and chronic alcoholism.
The bottem line is that concussions must be taken seriously as a major health problem.