BACKGROUND: To characterize the patterns of presentation of adults with head injury to the Emergency Department. METHODS: This is a cohort study that sought to collect injury and outcome variables with the goal of characterizing the very early natural history of traumatic brain injury in adults. This IRB-approved project was conducted in collaboration with our Institution's Center for Translational Science Institute. Data were entered in REDCap, a secure database. Statistical analyses were performed using JMP 10.0 pro for Windows. RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 2,394 adults, with 40% being women and 79% Caucasian. The most common mechanism was fall (47%) followed by motor vehicle collision (MVC) (36%). Patients sustaining an MVC were significantly younger than those whose head injury was secondary to a fall (P < 0.0001). Ninety-one percent had CT imaging; hemorrhage was significantly more likely with worse severity as measured by the Glasgow Coma Score (chi-square, P < 0.0001). Forty-four percent were admitted to the hospital, with half requiring ICU admission. In-hospital death was observed in 5.4%, while neurosurgical intervention was required in 8%. For all outcomes, worse TBI severity per GCS was significantly associated with worse outcomes (logistic regression, P < 0.0001, adjusted for age). CONCLUSION: These cohort data highlight the burden of TBI in the Emergency Department and provide important demographic trends for further research.