March is Brain Injury Awareness Month: Change Your Mind About TBI

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by an external force, such as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating injury, that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually. These injuries can range from mild TBI, like a concussion, to severe. Brain injury can also be acquired, like a stroke or seizure or lack of oxygen to the brain.  Brain injuries can have lasting impact on memory, cognition, behavior, and physical functioning.

The annual Brain Injury Awareness Month campaign, organized by the Brain Injury Association of America, is aimed at increasing the public’s knowledge about brain injury, current research in brain injury treatment and recovery, and resources for brain injury survivors and their families. For 2018-2020, the goal of the awareness campaign is to “Change Your Mind” about brain injury, destigmatize it through outreach within and outside the brain injury community, empower survivors and caregivers, and promote the many types of support that are available to those living with brain injury.

We gathered a few resources from NIDILRR-funded projects and other organizations which we hope will change some minds about brain injury:

For everyone

TBI Hot Topics Modules from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center introduce TBI and depression, relationships after TBI, and changes in memory after TBI. Each module includes factsheets and video interviews with TBI survivors, family members, and professionals.

TBI Infocomics from the Northwest TBI Model System Center present the most vital and up-to-date information about physical, cognitive, and emotional issues people TBI may be experiencing. The graphic and story-telling formats present the facts of TBI in a way that may be easier to remember and understand. Individual issues cover Understanding TBI, Headaches and TBI, Emotional Changes After a TBI, TBI and Sleep, and Understanding Concussion.

TBI Basics is a series from BrainLine, is a service of WETA. It features an interactive brain which visitors can click on to see how the brain works and what impact an injury can have. The series covers concussion, resources for newly diagnosed individuals and their families, and a collection of “life after TBI” personal stories of recovery.

For first responders

TBI and Its Implications: A Training Video for Continuing Education for Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians from the Midwest Regional TBI Model System introduces TBI, its signs and symptoms, and how a TBI might impact someone’s interaction with first responders. The videos include interviews with survivors who describe their individual experiences with memory, speech, balance, personality, and other issues which may help medical personnel understand potential issues in assisting people with TBI.

For educators

TBI Tips for Educators from the Center on Brain Injury Research and Training (CBIRT) is a monthly infosheet on topics relevant to brain injury and education. Each issue covers topics of interest to educators supporting students with brain injury. CBIRT is home to several NIDILRR-funded projects on TBI.

These are just a few examples of resources to introduce to the basics of brain injury. Please share these within your community to spread the word and Change Your Mind about TBI!

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