National Brain Injury Awareness Month in Review
Every year the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) uses the month of March to raise awareness for traumatic and acquired brain injury, which affect over 3.5 million children and adults each year. The goal of Brain Injury Awareness month, which has been themed #NotAloneinBrainInjury since 2015, is to educate the public about the occurrence and causes of brain injuries, to destigmatize the injury and the cognitive and psychological deficits that accompany it, and to provide information about the support that is available for those who are suffering from brain injury.
March 22, 2017 was Brain Injury Awareness Day. Two co-chairs of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, Representatives Bill Pascrell and Tom Rooney joined the Brain Injury Association of America to host Brain Injury Awareness Day in Washington DC. Events taking place in Washington, DC included a TBI fair and an evening reception to celebrate the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. In addition, they provided an educational brief, “Faces of Brain Injury: The Invisible Disability Affecting Children and Adults” to Congress.
The best way to show support for people suffering with TBI is to learn about brain injury and to and to help educate others. The Q&A below provides some of the basics:
What is the BIAA?
TheBrain Injury Association of America (BIAA) is a national organization whose mission is to “advance awareness, research, treatment, and education and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury.” They believe that brain injury is not simply an event, but the start of a neurological disease. BIAA partners with many state and local organizations to accomplish its mission.
What are the most common causes of brain injury?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common cause of brain injury is falls – 40% of head injuries occur this way. Other leading causes include motor vehicle accidents and assaults. Unfortunately, many head injuries go unreported and untreated, so if you have a fall or an accident, be sure to seek medical attention, no matter how minor it may seem.
What’s the difference between a brain injury and a concussion?
A concussion is a type of brain injury that is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. We hear of the occurrence of concussions quite often in everyday life, for example in the case of sports injuries. In the medical field, concussions are commonly referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI), but they can have serious long-term effects. They may not always have obvious immediate symptoms, but they do require immediate medical attention.
What are the challenges of living with brain injury?
Brain injury is different for everyone. Deficits from a brain injury are due to a disruption in the ability of the brain to send messages to different systems throughout the body. Therefore, the consequences of brain injury can vary based on the severity of the injury and the region of the brain that is affected. Some common challenges that occur as a result of brain injury are difficulties in language (including speaking and listening), memory problems, mood problems such as anger or depression, vision, hearing, and balance/coordination.
If you are a family member or loved one of someone living with brain injury, you may also face challenges. Regardless of the severity of the injury, caring for someone with brain injury can be emotionally draining, so having patience and taking care of yourself are important to helping both the patient and the caregiver get through the process. The BIAA has resources that can help the patient and their loved ones get through the long road to recovery and help manage the challenges if living with brain injury.
Where can I learn more about brain injury?
National Brain Injury Information Center: 1-800-444-6443
Congressional Brain Injury Task Force: https://pascrell.house.gov/issues/brain-injury-task-force
National Collaborative on Children with Brain Injury: http://cbirt.org/nccbi/
Family Caregiver Alliance: caregiver.org
Brain Injury Training and Publications: https://www.lapublishing.com/blog/brain-injury-training/
Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine: https://www.usuhs.edu/cnrm
Join the 12th World Congress on Brain Injury in New Orleans from March 29 to April 1, 2017 – the largest international gathering of brain injury professionals.