In the U.S., an estimated 1.4 million people each year sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 50,000 people die. Men are at much greater risk of TBI and it is estimated that two to three males sustain a traumatic brain injury for every female. Why is this?
TBI and Motor Vehicles
Men are more likely to engage in activities that make them more vulnerable to acquired traumatic brain injury. Fifty to 70 percent of TBIs are the result of road traffic accidents involving car crashes, motorcycles and bicycles. Motor vehicle insurers know that men are more likely to make a claim than women as a result of accidents, hence premiums are often higher for men.
TBI and War
Wars and areas of conflict such as Iraq and Afghanistan mean male soldiers are in more prominent combat situations are are therefore more vulnerable to head injury. Blast injuries and penetrating trauma caused by bullets, bombs and projectiles mean that TBI and spinal injury account for nearly 25 percent of injuries to combat troops.
TBI, Criminality and Antisocial Behavior in Men
The peak age for TBI is between 15 and 24 years. Young men are also more likely to get into fights involving weapons and firearms, often after drinking alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control report that firearm use cause about 10 percent of all TBIs and is the leading cause of death related to TBI. They account for 44 percent of TBI-related deaths. Drugs and alcohol are often experimented with when people are young. Overdoses, driving and other activities performed under the influence of alcohol or drugs all increase the likelihood of acquiring a brain injury.
TBI, Sports and Men
Men are more likely to engage in high risk or contact sports such as karate, hockey, boxing and activities like skateboarding, track and motor racing. The CDC estimate around 300,000 sports-related brain injuries of mild to moderate severity occur in the United States each year.
TBI, Employment and Men
The last of the main contributors to TBI in men involves work. Men are far more likely to be employed in occupations that carry some form of industrial risk and that often involve heavy equipment or manual labor. The likelihood of accidents increases where proper safety precautions are not followed, or when men lose concentration for reasons such as illness or fatigue.
There is a high association of brain trauma with lower socio-economic status.
Prognosis Following TBI
Traumatic brain injury may cause no loss of consciousness, or the injury can be more severe resulting in coma or death. The damage resulting from a TBI can cause temporary or permanent loss of physical functioning and can affect the way people think and behave (impaired cognitive abilities).
One clear implication of the statistics is that most incidents of traumatic head injury are avoidable.
Article Sources Include:
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. What is Traumatic Brain Injury. 07 September 2006. Centers for Disease Control. 19 Oct 2006 <http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/tbi/TBI.htm>.