March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March 8, 2008 Kyron No Comments

Brain injury awareness monthbiausa March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Not all of our children are born with special needs, some of them develop them in relation to unfortunate circumstances. Some of these circumstances are as unavoidable as they were unfortunate. Others are all the more unfortunate because with education and safety measures could have been prevented. The Brain Injury Association of America through the Brain Injury Awareness Month hopes to be a part of that education process.

According to the CDC, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) “is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” The top three causes for TBI are

  • Falls – 28%
  • Motor vehicle-traffic crashes – 20%
  • Struck by/against events – 19%

Many of these events might be preventable with the proper education about safety. I grew up in a time long before seatbelts were mandatory, car seats were standard, or kids wore helmets when riding their bicycles in the neighborhood. According to the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation rates of TBI related hospitalization have declined nearly 50% since 1980. This can be attributed to injury prevention programs and laws requiring safety devices such as car seats and helmets.

The sad reality is that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in children ages 0-14 whether mild or severe contribute to 435,000 emergency department visits annually according to the CDC. Of those 37,000 have a TBI significant enough to warrant hospitalization and over 2600 of those end in death. Traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of cases of permanent disability annually. says that anywhere from 45 to 88 percent of cycling related brain injuries could be prevented with helmet usage.

The Brain Injury Society posts these facts about head injury:

  • Two million head injuries occur each year in the United States. Brain injury causes between 70,000 and 100,000 deaths each year.
  • 500,000 people will require hospitalization each year as a result of brain injury. Every year 70,000 – 90,000 people will suffer life long physical, intellectual and psychological disabilities as a result of their injury.
  • Brain injuries are the most frequent reasons for visits to physicians and emergency rooms.
  • A brain injury occurs every 16 seconds; a death from head injury occurs every 12 minutes.
  • 7,000,000 head injuries occur annually in the United States
  • 1 in every 220 people in the US is suffering from the effects of a head injury
  • A severely injured person with a brain injury typically requires between 5-10 years of intensive rehabilitation with long-term follow up.
  • Brain injury kills more Americans under the age of 34 than all other causes combined and has claimed more lives since the turn of the century than all United States wars combined.

Given the very serious consequences of brain injury it’s easy to see why education and prevention are so very critical. The changes that occur with brain injury can be significant. The Brain Injury Society lists the major symptoms which can vary greatly. Some depends on where the injury is and the degree of injury. They are:

  1. Cognitive impairments: May be very mild to exceedingly severe. They include memory deficits (short or long term), difficulties with concentration, slowness, thinking, attention, perception, communication, reading, writing skills, planning, sequencing, and judgment.
  2. Physical impairments: Speech, hearing, vision, and sensory impairments, headaches, dizziness, vertigo, lack of coordination, spastically of muscles, paralyses to one or both sides, and seizure disorders are often seen.
  3. Psycho-Social/ Behavioral/ Emotional Impairments: Such impairments include fatigue, mood swings, denial, self-centeredness, anxiety, depression, lowered self-esteem, sexual dysfunction, restlessness, lack of motivation, inability to self-monitor, difficulty with emotional control, inability to cope, agitation, excessive laughing or crying and difficulty relating to others.

There is no cure for traumatic brain injury, only correct rehabilitation and development of compensatory skills, sharpened strategies and heightened techniques for the traumatic brain injured recovering individual.

Living with Katherine I know from each of these issues. While Katherine’s injury was not a traumatic one but rather an acquired one (from a stroke) I can tell you that the devastation a brain injury holds for not only the person who has one but the family and friends who are likewise affected. It is astronomical. Katherine’s injury is from birth so while devastating, maybe it’s not quite as devastating as dealing with each of these issues and their impact on someone who previously was otherwise unimpaired.

Hopefully you all will take the time to check out both the Brain Injury Association of America’s website information for Brain Injury Awareness Month and the Brain Injury Society.

Related posts:

  1. Attitude is Everything – Disability Awareness Month Indiana
  2. The Sunday Paper for March 2, 2008

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