Brain and Spinal Cord Injury

Primary prevention is the only method of preventing  injury, including motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries, and firearm misuse, with a clear goal of eliminating unnecessary injury and its life-changing impact

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Every year, at least 1.7 million TBIs occur either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.

Motor-vehicle crashes and traffic-related incidents result in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths, and are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injuries for any age group. ~CDC 2010






Falls cause half of all Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) for ages 0-14 and 61% of all TBIs for adults aged 65 years and older. ~CDC 2010

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.

Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.


Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury, defined as damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal, may cause permanent changes in physical strength, sensation and other body functions.  A spinal cord injury (SCI) not only causes paralysis, but also has long-term impact on health. There are between 236,000 to 327,000 individuals living with the consequences of SCI in the United States.

A spinal cord injury (SCI) refers to any injury to the spinal cord that is caused by trauma instead of disease. Depending on where the spinal cord and nerve roots are damaged, the symptoms can vary widely, from pain to paralysis to incontinence. Spinal cord injuries are described at various levels of "incomplete", which can vary from having no effect on the patient to a "complete" injury which means a total loss of function.

Treatment of spinal cord injuries starts with restraining the spine and controlling inflammation to prevent further damage. The actual treatment can vary widely depending on the location and extent of the injury. In many cases, spinal cord injuries require substantial physical therapy and rehabilitation, especially if the patient's injury interferes with activities of daily life.

Spinal cord trauma can be caused by a number of injuries to the spine, including:

  • Assault
  • Falls
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Industrial accidents
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Sports injuries (particularly diving into shallow water)
  • Violence accounts for 16% of all spinal cord injuries. ~CDC 2010

For more information on Spinal Cord Injuries