Head injuries resulted in 142,000 hospital admissions during 2020-21 – about one hospitalisation every four minutes – according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
Injuries to the head were responsible for 406,000 emergency department presentations, and 2,400 deaths, the report revealed. In 2020-21, head injuries accounted for 21% of all injury emergency department presentations, 25% of all injury hospitalisations, and 17% of all injury deaths.
“In recent times, the Australian community has become more aware of head injuries – including concussion in sport – and the importance of preventing and managing these injuries,” AIHW spokesperson, Dr Heather Swanston, said.
“This report will help build a clearer national picture of the causes, frequency and severity of head injuries and the population groups at greatest risk of hospitalisation and death from head injuries.”
Falls (67%) and transport (12%) were the leading causes for head injury hospitalisations and death. Almost seven in 10 (69%) of all injury hospitalisations for assault had at least one head injury.
Males made up two in three ED presentations and deaths, and 55% of head injury hospitalisations. While children had higher rates of ED presentations for head injuries than adults, with those aged 0-4 recording the highest rates.
Sport and physical activity was also responsible for one quarter of all concussive hospitalisations during 2020-21, with cycling related to the most number of sports head injury hospitalisations.