March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

According to the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Of these 1.7 million people, 52,000 die, 275,000 are hospitalized, and 1.3654 million (nearly 80%) are treated and released from an emergency department. It is unknown how many people with TBI do not go to an emergency department or who receive no care. Of all the TBIs that occur each year, 75% are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.

Brain Injury Awareness Month is sponsored and promoted by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIA), which has great ideas to promote Brain Injury Awareness Month and provides awareness materials for this year. BIA’s website includes a general schedule for Brain Injury Awareness Day that will be held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. The activities for the day will include a Brain Injury Awareness Fair, a briefing on the impact of TBI, and will end with a reception celebrating Brain Injury Awareness Month.

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) funds a significant number of TBI research projects each year. In 1987, NIDRR created and funded the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System (TBIMS) program to demonstrate the benefits of a coordinated system of neuro-trauma and rehabilitation care and conduct innovative research on all aspects of care for those who sustain traumatic brain injuries. There are 16 Centers throughout the United States that provide comprehensive systems of brain injury care to people who sustain a TBI, from acute care through community re-entry. These Centers include the UAB TBI Model System in Alabama, Northern California TBI Model System, the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System in Colorado, and the Spaulding/Partners Traumatic Brain Injury Model System at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts. Each Center with the TBIMS program works closely with the TBI National Data Center at KMRREC. Currently, NIDRR currently funds over 40 projects dealing with TBI, including collaborative research projects between Model Systems. Research from one collaborative project was recently featured in the New York Times.

Active duty military personnel are among those at highest risk for TBI. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) assist the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in providing services, education, and prevention of TBI and the delivery of health to service members with TBI. DVBIC can also be reached by phone at 800/870-9244. There is also the Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) Outreach Center that can be reached for more information or resources via chat, email, or phone (866/966-1020). For general information and resources please contact the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) at 800/346-2742.

For more statistics on TBI, please visit the CDC’s webpage on TBI Prevention and Control.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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