The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) along with self-advocates, families and volunteers across the nation will mark Brain Injury Awareness Month this March. They remind us a brain injury can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone – a brain injury does not discriminate. In fact, 1.7 million Americans sustain a brain injury each year. Early and equal access to care for all is the association’s goal.
The BIAA notes that “brain injury is not an event or an outcome. It is the start of a misdiagnosed, misunderstood, under-funded neurological disease. Individuals who sustain brain injuries must have timely access to expert trauma care, specialized rehabilitation, lifelong disease management and individualized services and supports in order to live healthy, independent and satisfying lives.
“The mission of the BIAA is to advance brain injury prevention, research, treatment and education and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury.” At KHS, we support the work of the BIAA in increasing access to quality health care and raising awareness and understanding of brain injury.
The following information on brain injuries comes from the Mayo Foundation:
Causes of Brain Injury
Each year, an estimated 1.5 to 2 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The brain has the consistency of gelatin; it’s cushioned from everyday jolts and bumps by the cerebrospinal fluid in which it floats inside your skull. A violent blow to the head can cause the brain to slide forcefully against the inner wall of the skull. Even the sudden stop of a car crash can bounce the brain against the skull. This can result in bleeding in or around the brain and the tearing of nerve fibers.
Crashes, violence and falls
According to the National Institutes of Health, half of all TBIs are caused by collisions involving cars, motorcycles and bicycles. About 20 percent are caused by violence, such as gunshot wounds or incidents of child abuse. TBI can occur in infants and small children who have been shaken violently. Among older people, falls are the leading cause of TBIs.
Explosive blasts are a common cause of TBI in military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. In most of these cases, the skull remains intact and the damage is believed to be caused by a pressure wave of the explosion’s concussive force passing through the brain.
© 1998-2010 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.
See our services and equipment to support those with TBIs at:
BIAA Brain Injury Warning Signs
Seek medical attention if you are experiencing:
- Excessive drowsiness
- Severe headache
- Weakness in your arms or legs
- Dizziness or loss of vision
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness or confusion
- Vomiting or nausea