A TBI is caused by an external force that injures the brain. It can occur when a person’s head is hit, bumped, or jolted. It also can occur when an object, such as a bullet, pierces the skull or when the body is shaken or hit hard enough to cause the brain to slam into the skull.
Among the leading causes of TBI are falls, motor vehicle crashes and traffic-related accidents, being struck by or against an object, and assaults.1
Many TBIs, especially in young people, happen while people are playing sports or doing recreational activities. Some activities that lead to emergency department visits for TBI are bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball, and soccer.2 Learn more by viewing NICHD’s video and infographic on TBI in kids.
In the military, the leading causes of TBI are gunshots, fragments from an explosion, blasts, falls, motor vehicle crashes, and assaults.3