What is the Brain Trauma Foundation?

The Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF) is a national non-profit organization founded in 1986 whose mission is to translate neuroscience into effective solutions.

How does BTF make a difference?

We develop, maintain and implement best practice Guidelines, as well as educate medical personnel on TBI. When medical personnel put these Guidelines into practice there is a marked improvement in outcomes.

Why do the Guidelines matter?

Research has proven that not all brain damage occurs at the moment of impact, but rather evolves over the ensuing hours and days after the initial injury due to brain swelling and low oxygen blood flow to the brain. In most cases, this secondary damage can be controlled when scientific, evidence-based care is provided in compliance with BTF’s TBI guidelines.

The implementation of BTF Guidelines has been shown to decrease mortality, improve outcomes, reduce days in the ICU, hospital, and rehabilitation, and reduce costs. By educating healthcare professionals to use these Guidelines, thousands of lives could be saved each year in the U.S., and many more would be spared lifelong disabilities.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma, often a blow or jolt to the head, causes damage to the brain. The severity of TBI can range from mild (a concussion) to severe (coma). A concussion may cause temporary confusion and headache, while a severe TBI can be fatal. Levels of brain trauma are characterized by the following:

  • Mild (Concussion): A person with a mild TBI, which is also called a concussion, may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes or perhaps not at all. Typical symptoms can include confusion, memory difficulties, headache and behavioral problems.
  • Moderate: A person with a moderate TBI is often lethargic with their eyes open to stimulation and may lose consciousness for 20 minutes to six hours. He/she may experience some brain swelling or bleeding causing sleepiness, but is still able to be aroused.
  • Severe (Coma): A person with a severe TBI is typically in a coma state for more than six hours.

A TBI does not include a stroke, an infection in the brain or a brain tumor.

Who is affected by TBI?

TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults ages 1 to 44. Populations that are most affected are youth and elderly who have falls. Each year about 2 million individuals have TBIs of which approximately 50,000 result in death, and over 80,000 suffer permanent disability.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of TBI are:

  • Falls (28%)
  • Motor vehicle crashes (20%)
  • Being hit by or colliding with an object (19%)
  • Assaults (11%)
  • Others (12%)

» TBI Fact-Sheet (PDF)

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