March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month
Inside the brain is everything that makes you, you. Your memories, your personality, and your ability to reason and breathe all reside in your brain tissues.
Thankfully, your skull protects this most vital of organs from outside damage due to falls, sports injuries, car wrecks, and other dangers. Sometimes, though, there is only so much the skull can do to shield the brain from trauma.
An injury to the brain can be as minor as a concussion with effects that only last a few days or as severe as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that changes the rest of your life. March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and we want to take this opportunity to raise awareness about the prevalence of TBIs and provide some small insight into what it’s like for those who live with brain injuries.
Observe Brain Injury Awareness Month in March 2017
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) says that 5.3 million people in the United States are currently living with TBI symptoms. To help reduce the prevalence of brain injuries, the BIAA created Brain Injury Awareness Month in 1984 and has observed it each year since. The BIAA marks this special month, which takes place in March, by staging annual awareness, education, and prevention campaigns related to brain injuries.
This year, the theme for the campaign is “Not Alone.” The goal of this campaign is to educate and destigmatize brain injuries and give those who are suffering from them a voice.
What is a TBI?
Broadly speaking, a TBI involves a disruption to the way the brain normally functions; they usually occur due to an impact to the head. These injuries can lead to physical, emotional, cognitive, or social impairments.
Experts categorize TBIs by severity from mild to severe. (“Concussions” are actually another name for mild traumatic brain injuries.) The severity of the injury depends, in part, on how long a patient was unconscious after the injury occurred.
Living with a TBI of any severity can uproot the lives of victims and their caregivers. Anxiety and paranoia are common among TBI patients, and in severe cases, patients have to relearn basic tasks that were once second nature to them. This can be incredibly frustrating to patients who have already suffered physically and mentally.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that TBIs contribute to 30% of injury deaths and are a leading cause of disability in the United States. According to the CDC, 138 people die each day in the United States due to injuries that involve a TBI.
Living with a TBI
Life after a TBI can often look very different compared to what victims had previously imagined for their future. Besides all the physical and cognitive changes that can force the patient to re-learn fundamental tasks, a TBI can derail a career, disrupt education plans, and place aspirational plans like traveling and learning new skills seemingly miles out of reach.
In addition, brain injuries often heal very slowly compared to even the most severe physical injuries, which inevitably creates a sense of frustration for victims who pour their full efforts into recovery and expect to see returns. Depression, anxiety, and anger are very common among recovering TBI victims. As a result, it’s very important for TBI victims to work closely with qualified mental health professionals in addition to their physicians and rehabilitation specialists.
For people with severe TBIs, returning to the life they enjoyed before their injury may not be a realistic goal. Instead, they may have to create an entirely new life, nearly from scratch — which inevitably involves a great deal of challenge and heartbreak in addition to, hopefully, recovery and reinvention.
To learn more about Brain Injury Awareness Month and hear stories from TBI victims, you can visit the BIAA’s official page at http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-awareness-month.htm.
William D. Cook: Advocating for Brain Injury Victims
Here at the Law Offices of William D. Cook, we understand the trials of living with a brain injury. We are familiar with how a TBI can affect your life and the lives of loved ones, and we have provided legal representation for many brain injury victims in their search for justice.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a TBI because of someone else’s carelessness, don’t wait to seek help: call us today at (800) 757-7757 or fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. (2015). Brain Injury Association of America. Retrieved from http://www.biausa.org/brain-injury-awareness-month.htm
Living with traumatic brain injury. (n.d.). Brainline.org. Retrieved from http://www.brainline.org/landing_pages/categories/livingwithtbi.html
TBI: Get the facts. (2016, September 20). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
What is occupational therapy? (2017). The American Occupational Therapy Association. Retrieved from http://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy.aspx