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Tucson, Arizona

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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Arizonans Face Big Brain Injury Risks

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Arizonans suffer the highest rate of traumatic brain injuries of states that were surveyed. These brain injuries are resulting in lasting physical and/or mental impairment, most commonly by car accidents and physical assaults.

What is most tragic – is how young people are being affected. Infants, teens and young adults in Arizona suffer higher traumatic brain injury rates than any of the other states investigated, according to a new survey by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A disorder of major public health significance” is how the National Institutes of Health describes the problem, noting that the 2 million Americans affected by this every year face “lifelong impairment of physical, cognitive and psychosocial function,” resulting in very high rates of divorce, unemployment and substance abuse.

Arizona’s problem emerged in a recent two-year study conducted by the CDC in an effort to get an idea of how extensive traumatic brain injury — brain damage caused by an external physical force — is in the U.S.
Among 12 states surveyed in 2002, Arizona’s rate of hospitalizations for such injuries topped all others, at 96.7 per 100,000 population. That was well above the average rate of these states, at 79, and almost double the lowest state, Nebraska, at 50.6.

In the most recent year surveyed, 2003, the problem worsened, with Arizona’s rate rising to 105 per 100,000 population. Again, that was worst among the nine states surveyed that year, easily beating the average 88, and this time more than doubling Nebraska’s low of 51.8.

Read More about Arizona, Brain Injury Risks.