Facts About Brain Injury Awareness Month
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Facts About Brain Injury Awareness Month

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Posted on February 27, 2024

Most people never imagine that their lives can spin off course in a moment when an injury impacts the organ that’s the center of all thought, reasoning, emotion, and bodily function. Sadly, over 5.3 million Americans and their families live with the daily impacts of a brain injury, one of the most common causes of disability in the U.S.

March is brain injury awareness month and the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) leads the nation in raising awareness of this critical issue each year, including joining with other members of the brain injury community on Capitol Hill on March 5-6th in 2024 for the 2024 Brain Injury Awareness Rally. Use hashtag #MoreThanMyBrainInjury to participate in eliminating stigma and increasing education.

What is a Brain Injury?

Injury to the brain may occur due to medical conditions such as strokes, blood clots, aneurysms, or heart attacks and other medical events that deprive the brain of oxygen. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one that occurs due to outside trauma rather than as the result of a medical condition. Traumatic brain injuries result from blows to the head, a violent shake, or blunt force trauma from a car accident, fall, or violent attack. In some cases, a traumatic brain injury occurs from a penetrating injury such as from a gunshot wound.

The damage from a brain injury can be focal—or limited to one area of the brain—or diffuse, with impacts throughout the brain or in multiple regions. Brain injuries range in severity from mild concussions to severe diffuse axonal injuries, but any time an injury occurs to the delicate tissue of the brain, damage to the neurons responsible for sending critical messages to the body occurs with lasting impacts on function and quality of life.

Unfortunate Facts About Brain Injury in the U.S.

Both the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) compile information about traumatic brain injuries, resulting in alarming statistics including the following facts:

  • Around 2.8 million Americans suffer brain injuries each year ranging from mild concussions to severe injuries with resulting disabilities
  • Motor vehicle accidents and falls are the two leading causes of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S.
  • Around 190 people die each day in the U.S. due to brain injuries and their complications
  • TBI is a major cause of disability cases in the U.S.
  • 15 percent of high-school students in sports reported at least one concussion in 2019
  • In 2020 there were over 214,000 hospitalizations due to brain injuries
  • Brain injuries, including concussions, occur about every nine seconds in the U.S.
  • Leading causes of brain injuries are car accidents, falls, military explosives, workplace accidents, contact sports, violent assaults, and self-inflicted gunshot wounds (suicide)
  • Repeated concussions during youth and adult years may cause a form of dementia later in life
  • Adults over the age of 65 face the highest risks of suffering brain injuries from falls
  • Traumatic brain injuries fall into two categories: concussions and mild TBIs, and moderate to severe TBIs

A fascinating new study from the University of Massachusetts shows that reducing screen time during the first 48 hours after a concussion leads to faster healing. This results from increased brain rest and less frequent eye movement.

Anyone with a suspected TBI should see a medical professional or a Kent personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Most people with mild TBIs such as concussions recover fully at home, but those with moderate to severe TBIs require medical treatment and rehabilitation. Some severe TBI sufferers never fully regain independence and require long-term assisted living.

Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill During March 5th and 6th

The 2024 brain injury awareness rally takes place on March 5-6 in Washington DC with a schedule of important meetings and events. March 6th is Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill. Organization leaders and advocates meet with members of Congress and their staff as well as with federal agencies. This year’s agenda includes calling for a reauthorization of the Traumatic Brain Injury Act, a landmark piece of legislation that’s been in place since 1966 to address TBI prevention, research on TBI impacts, and the delivery of services through state grants.

H.E.A.D.S. and Signs of Concussion

The Department of Defense uses the acronym H.E.A.D.S as an important tool for recognizing early signs of a concussion and seeking treatment:

H: Headaches and vomiting

E: Ears ringing

A: Amnesia, or altered consciousness

D: Dizziness and double vision

S: Something doesn’t feel right

Signs of concussions and/or more serious brain injuries include loss of consciousness, slurred speech or difficulty understanding the speech of others, sleep disturbances, and changes in mood or personality.

What Can I Do to Participate in Raising Awareness During Brain Injury Awareness Month?

Whether you have a brain injury, you’re a caregiver to a loved one with a brain injury, or you’re a medical professional, anyone can participate in raising national awareness around this critical issue. The BIAA encourages individuals to share their personal stories with others in the community through an online forum or through helpful social media templates. You can also advocate by joining the BIAA’s letter-writing campaign, or by signing up for BIAA’s Policy Corner Newsletter.

Informative Webinars During Brain Injury Awareness Month

Stay informed through this year’s important webinars scheduled throughout March for brain injury awareness month including:

Also in March, look for a slate of training events for injured veterans by the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence (TBICoE).

Brain Injury Awareness Month in March began in 1993 to advocate for increased awareness of the struggles of those living with brain injuries and their caregivers. The movement now includes more than 20 organizations working in partnership to raise awareness about the long-term effects of concussions, as well as the impacts and stigma of brain damage from other forms of TBI, with special events and educational and training opportunities.