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September 8, 1999

Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion in Sports

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill.

JAMA. 1999;282(10):989-991. doi:10.1001/jama.282.10.989

The term traumatic brain injury (TBI) was introduced into federal law by the Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 1996.1 It is quite possible that many physician-readers of THE JOURNAL are being introduced to the term TBI as a medical diagnosis for the first time, since most US medical schools probably have not included lectures on this topic or used this term in their required courses. In fact, it may come as a surprise to some physicians that 1 million new cases of TBI occur in the United States each year, with more than 50,000 deaths and 70,000 to 90,000 persons developing long-term disability, as reported by Thurman and Guerrero.2 These data indicate that the incidence of TBI exceeds the annual incidence rates of the more well-established neurological diagnoses of multiple sclerosis,3 Parkinson disease,4 and Alzheimer disease5 combined. And yet only recently has the attention of the medical community been drawn to TBI, which Goldstein referred to as "a silent epidemic" nearly a decade ago.6