Newsroom > DHHS News Release

April 6, 2011

Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, 402-471-9356

Report Identifies Injuries as Major Problem in Nebraska

April is Public Health Month

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Lincoln - A common misconception shared by many people is that unintentional injuries happen as a result of “accidents,” when in fact, most injuries are predictable and preventable. April is Public Health month in Nebraska and the American Public Health Association recognizes April 4-10, 2011 as National Public Health Week. This year’s theme is “Safety is No Accident: Live Injury Free.”

“Injuries are a major public health problem in Nebraska resulting in significant numbers of deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System (HHSS). “From 2004 to 2008, intentional and unintentional injuries were the fifth leading cause of death in Nebraska. For Nebraskans age 1 to 44 years, unintentional injuries were the leading cause of death.”

A recent report combines hospital discharge data, death certificate data, and trauma registry data from 2004 to 2008. This report describes the leading causes of injury death and the leading causes of injury hospital discharges, including inpatient and outpatient. Highlights include:

  • In Nebraska, injury was the second leading cause of years of potential life lost due to injury after cancer.

  • Deaths due to injury made up 6% of total deaths to Nebraskans. However, among 15 to 34 year olds, over half of all deaths were due to injuries (78% for age 15 to 24 and approximately 54% for both the 5-14 and 25-34 age groups).

Motor Vehicle Crashes

  • Statewide, unintentional motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of injury death.

  • Motor vehicle crash hospitalization rates were highest among young adults and seniors (67 per 100,000 for age 15 – 24 and approximately 79 per 100,000 for age 75+).

  • The median hospital charge for injuries due to unintentional MVCs was $23,567.


  • Suicide was the leading cause of injury death for individuals age 35 – 55. Males were more likely to die from suicide while females were more likely to be hospitalized for suicide attempts.

  • Suicide was the second leading cause of injury death.

  • 52% of suicide deaths were caused by firearm, 26% by suffocation, 18% by poisoning, and 4% by other means.


  • Falls were the leading cause of injury hospital discharge for all ages combined in Nebraska.

  • Approximately 82% of all hospitalizations for falls were to treat fractures.

  • Falls were the second leading cause of unintentional injury death. Such deaths were most common among adults aged 85 years and older.

Nebraska’s pattern of injury remained fairly consistent over the five-year period from 2004 to 2008. For additional information, call 402-471-2101 or go to to view the entire report.

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