Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts brain functioning. The leading causes of TBI are falls, being struck by or against objects and motor vehicle crashes. TBIs range from mild (a brief disruption in consciousness) to severe (prolonged unconsciousness or amnesia). While a majority of the TBIs that occur each year are mild—commonly referred to as concussions—many are severe and occasionally lead to permanent disability or death. In 2013, there were approximately 2.8 million TBI-related emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States.
In addition to the emotional burden of TBIs, the economic burden of TBIs in the United States is estimated to be approximately $76.5 billion. Programs and services that support TBI patients are funded through various federal and state sources. For example, Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers are active in 47 states and the District of Columbia and fund cost-effective services to those at risk of being institutionalized due to a medical condition. At least 22 states utilize a HCBS waiver to extend benefits and services to certain patients with TBI.
Many states aim to prevent TBIs as well as effectively diagnose and rehabilitate TBI patients. Between 2009 and 2015, 50 states and the District of Columbia passed laws to address traumatic brain injury. The majority of states enacted legislation targeting youth sports-related concussions. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, sports-related concussions affected about 2.5 million high school students in 2017. Other introduced legislation addresses traumatic brain injury in veterans, appropriates funds to traumatic brain injury prevention or treatment programs, and requires insurers, hospitals and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for survivors of traumatic brain injury.
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Below is a list of enacted legislation between 2009 and 2014 to address traumatic brain injury. To view state actions from 2015 onward related to TBI and other injury and violence prevention topics, please visit NCSL's Injury and Violence Prevention Legislation Database.
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